While these pictures may border a post-apocalyptic scene, living in the mountains for a weekend actually taught me how it felt to truly enjoy life. In the above pictures, Subodh and I had taken an hour to go play basketball. During this time, a storm descended and the sky opened to pouring rain. Subodh and I sprinted the 0.6 miles back to our cabins, often finding ourselves completely winded in the 10k ft. altitude. At this point, the only jackets and long pants I owned were completely soaked through and unwearable. Since our cabins had no heaters, I had to switch into shorts and a t-shirt and wrap blankets around myself. Luckily every meal was served with hot chocolate, which helped tremendously with the cold. That night a campfire was lit inside our cabin. What an amazing idea! I sat for hours in front of the flame, heating both myself and clothes for the next day.
On Sunday, we started out the day with community service. We were handed a handful of garden tools and told to uproot all the weeds in a greenhouse. This was right up our alley. Like seasoned demolishers, we took to bringing down entire forests of weeds and leaving behind dirt in our wake. I found a sense of purpose in helping the local farmers. There was something cathartic in breathing the fresh mountain air and hacking away with borrowed garden tools.
To top off the day, our professor, Stephen, and I decided to go on a mountain bike tour. Considering ourselves relatively athletic, we went out with high hopes. That day I learned how humbling the altitude could be. Hills that had never seemed daunting suddenly brought all three of us to our feet, forcing us to get off our bikes ashamedly. Still, I felt truly alive as my blood pounded and I panted in the thin atmosphere. 3 miles later, we arrived at a zip line entrance. The view took my breath away and fear gripped my insides. Would I really go across that chasm? Well, I didn’t come this far for nothing. With a deep breath, I launched myself across the valley. Definitely worth it.