A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
The sun beats down on my Acubra hat and sunscreened arms. Though the temperature isn’t hot, I’m already starting to sweat 20 minutes into a six day hike. I have about 50 pounds on my back and a camera around my neck pulling everything out of alignment. Not sure what I’ve gotten myself into I ask Nature to cool things down a bit. Nature, being the vindictive literalist, takes my invitation and replies ten-fold.
The clouds roll in and don’t stop. At the first drops I put away the camera and throw on my waterproof jacket and pants. Within five minutes my ascent up the steepest part of the OT (also the first) is cooled down by cold rain. Not content with her work, the rain comes harder and colder. Winds pick up. By halfway up to Marion’s Lookout the rain is blowing sideways, stinging my nose and cheek (the only uncovered flesh). The water starts falling in sheets by the steep rocky “steps” that require a chain handrail in a country that doesn’t put guardrails on cliff-top overlooks.
My mood has changed with the weather. From ‘What am I doing? Can I handle this?’ to ‘Why is this happening?’ to ‘Could this get much worse?’ to that place I reach only through being pushed too far. As the unrelenting assault presses on, I dig deep, past the tiring legs and the burning muscles, to a well of strength and resilience. My fight or flight response has tapped rage. NO! I will not turn back. NO! I will not quit. NO! I am not going to be beaten by Nature. I scream into the rain though no one is crazy enough to be around to hear it.
Kitchen hut, the emergency shelter, is not far beyond the lookout. Once on more level ground the sustainable fight kicks in. After a minute I’m almost at a jog, 50 pounds still on my back, hiking poles acting like extensions of my arms. I fly on four limbs over hill after hill. The rain turns to hail, still nearly horizontal. I don’t feel the sting anymore.
I’m going to die, but it won’t be today.
I’m going to sleep in a warm bed in a city. But that won’t be today either. I’m in for six days on the trail, and I’m in 100%.