Last night I faced my biggest fear.
I climbed with three friends to the top of Moro Rock, which is 7,000 feet above sea level and a few hours' drive away from home, at midnight. After looking it up, I now know that the climb consists of 400 stairs and (my own knowledge here) a whole lot of scary. The were points where, even if your eyes were acclimated to the dark, you could see nothing but trees and darkness and a long fall into deep, blind nothingness.
It was the most beautiful, invigorating, terrifyingly amazing thing I've ever done in my entire life.
Being the middle of the night, there was no one there but us. We saw signs warning us of bears and lightning strikes and so many freaky things. And about halfway up the trail, there's this spot where you can stop for a minute and take a breather on a small bench, and you look out onto hundreds, maybe thousands of city lights. They say that if you go up there on a clear day you can see the ocean behind them, and that we were apparently looking onto our own town as well as LA, Santa Cruz, Three Rivers...a ton of places which, if you know California, are pretty damn widespread. It was the most amazing thing.
And of course, going past this point was where I really started to freak out. Did I mention yet that my greatest fear is that of heights? Yeah. I can't even walk on the second story of a house if I can see through the railing. Seriously. And not only could I see through the railing into a pit of death, but half the time the rocks that are supposed to work as railing were only about waist high. Oh my god, I thought I was going to die.
When we finally got to the top (it took a lot of coaxing, let me tell you) I sat down and hyperventilated for a while. And then my friends went on a little further to do much scarier things (as in walk on top a cliff with measly railing on each side, which they decided to climb over) and I sat there, calmed down, appreciated the smell of the forest and the sounds of the birds, the river, of peace. It was beautiful.
We were in the middle of nothing, wild animals lurking everywhere beneath us, and it was the most freeing thing in the world. In my few minutes of being alone, I contemplated dying, of falling or jumping off of that mountain.
And then I decided that, why would I have been so damn panicked walking that trail if I actually wanted to die? And what would that give me? I wouldn't have the chance to live moments like this one ever again; I wouldn't have friends to stand by me while I faced my greatest fears - which is almost paralyzing in the moment, but later is the greatest feeling in the world. I wouldn't have any chance to feel anything as wonderful ever again.
So I'm alive today. And I'm absolutely ecstatic to be.