Monday, June 13, 2016

The Climb (Like the Hannah Montana song)

Today we hiked the Manitou incline in Manitou Springs Colorado. Here is the description of the hike posted at the base: 

This is considered an extreme trail and is an advanced hike!
The Manitou Incline gains almost 2,000 feet of elevation over less than 1 mile. It's not for the faint of heart, but people from all walks (or climbs) of life have given it a go. It is, perhaps, the most unique and challenging trail in the country, attracting runners, Olympic athletes and cyclists from around the world. The trail is also used by military personnel and even soccer moms. More than anything, the Manitou Incline is famous for dishing out a tough workout. "I can’t think of any particular workout, route, or activity that forces you to push your boundaries quite like the Incline does," said Cameron Chambers, national mountain bike champion. "Redlined - that is the only word I can think of when describing the workout the Incline gives you."For a successful experience, consult your physician, bring plenty of water and energy snacks and be sure you've adjusted to the high altitude of Colorado Springs (6,035 ft) before you attempt this trail. Pace yourself and rest when you need to.
About three-quarters of the way up, the Manitou Incline intersects with Barr Trail and you can take that way back down if you like. Don't be fooled by the false summit. After you crest it, there are still about 300 steps to go. Once you've made it to the top - or rather if you make it to the top - you can hike down the bottom four miles of the Barr Trail.
Downhill use of the Incline is strongly discouraged.
It's a true Colorado workout that is enjoyed by many.
Give it a try, if you are inclined!!
Needless to say the hike is a tough one. When we left this morning at 10 am the sun was shining and we all had a smile on our faces. We were all ready for the challenge. About 15 minutes from Manitou Springs we realized that we were driving right into a storm.. We were about to get really wet. We parked a mile or so away from the trailhead (it was free parking). Almost simultaneously as we exited the car, the rain began to fall. hard. 😨 It was nasty and our socks were soaking wet even before we got close to the hike. Our little group of 4 (the rest were coming later) looked up at the incline and we couldn't even see halfway up it, that is how rough the storm was. So, as the bright young men we are, we began to climb. Now, the incline is hard during the day with hiking shoes on... I was hiking this in the rain with some sneakers I bought at a thrift store, probably from the 90s.. As we climbed up, many of the others around us began to turn back.. It almost felt like we were the only ones on the mountain.. I began to look around and I stopped to drink something. It was miserable to be honest. I began to climb up again and then I just stopped in my tracks. I sat down in the pouring rain, and thought about what I was doing. I was ready to turn around and climb down. I was done. 
Many of you might not know it, but recently I have been having a really hard time staying on my mission. It is really hard to be away from friends and family for such a long time. I miss the south and I miss swimming and I miss so many things. It is easy to lose focus. But as I was sitting there soaked to the core, shivering but also sweating somehow...I thought about my life and where I was going. I took a cold hard look at where I was who I was and what I was doing with the countless blessings my Heavenly Father gave to me. I realized, here sitting in the rain that if I turned around on this hike and gave up, that it would mean much more than saving my legs a little bit of pain. It would be indicative of the man who I would become.
 There are so many things that a lot of people will ever know. Bike rides in the 100 degree weather. Unanswered doors. Rude comments. Tears shed alone. No one will ever know about that.... 
But you know what? Jesus wasn't treated fair. Jesus was wronged his whole life! He faced more injustice in his short 33 years than most would in 3 lifetimes. Luckily for us however, He didn't give up. When the going got tough he bore down and did what a man had to do. Unfortunately, I am not Jesus. 
I stood up and began to walk down. I got down about 3 steps and turned around. What would I tell my kids? What would I tell my future wife? What would I tell my parents? That it was just too hard for me? That I wanted something easier? 
I said "I refuse to let the world act on me, I will act on the world." 
Then, I ripped my shirt off and began to sprint up the darn Manitou incline. I realized right then and there that life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to have fun in the rain. 
I didn't get far sprinting because its 2,000 feet straight up in the air, but I was determined to finish what I started. I was so fired up that I beat my PR by 37 minutes. I also decided I would give high fives to everyone that I passed. When I reached the top I felt great!! (emotionally of course, physically I was destroyed) 
On the way down I continued to give high fives and I made sure to give a smile to everyone who was everyone!! haha
I have made so many dumb decisions and mistakes in life that I could write a book about them, but in my opinion the worst mistake you could make is giving up on something you want.
It took me 19 years, 1 rainstorm,
2,000 stairs up a mountain and 
103 high fives to figure it out, 
but I am sure glad I did.
Also just in case you were wondering about the jersey I am wearing in the incline photos
it is a Samoan national rugby team jersey that my buddy elder Migi gave me before he went home.

Elder West (Center) went home this week. I will miss him.
Me and Sister Talili

Elder Ngauamo (center) completed his mission this week as well.
I will miss him and Elder West so much.

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