You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

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I wanted to share with you all my experience hiking the highest mountain in Massachusetts – Mount Greylock – located in the top left corner of the state in a town called Adams.

I did this hike with five other guys and this was their second time attempting to do it. The first time, they made it to the top but were too exhausted to make the hike all the way back down so they had a park ranger drive them down the mountain. Knowing this and being that I was the only girl, I was a bit worried I’d tap out somewhere half way through and they’d be stuck with me in the middle of nowhere! I had never done hiking anywhere close that magnitude before, the only “hiking” I’d ever really done previously was through the valley in my hometown. Nonetheless, I was up for the challenge and ready to prove myself wrong.

Untitled8This was actually the very first picture I stopped to take. We tried to keep the momentum going as much as possible, knowing we had a long trek ahead of us and needed to try to finish before sundown. We definitely didn’t want to end up lost in the midst of forestry in pitch-black darkness with no service! That would have been REALLY bad! But anyways, this was the first of the little ponds we came across.

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Next, we came to a clearing where there was this beautiful meadow area filled with pretty flowers. It was nice to be able to look out at an expansive landscape after being enclosed in dense forestry and hiking on uneven, rocky ground.

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But soon enough, we were back to being surrounded by wilderness, with trees and shrubs everywhere you turned. We came across this sign and knew from that point onward, we had 3 more miles to go until we’d reach the top. I do have to say though; it was quite peaceful listening to nothing but birds chirping and the sound of the rustling leaves in the breeze. I truly felt like one with nature.

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When we got to this area, we just had to stop and gaze out at the distant mountain range for a little while. While we appreciated the scenery, it was a perfect opportunity for us to hydrate and catch our breaths.

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Afterwards, it got to be a pretty steady incline and was very rocky so we had to be extra careful not to slip on a loose rock. It definitely looked pretty though with all the ever-changing shadows casted by the branches and leaves as they moved in the wind.

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This was one of my favorite spots other than the view from the summit. I loved how glossy the pond looked and how clear the reflection was in the placidity of the water. The little shed on the other side made me wonder what used to be in this area considering it seemed so randomly placed in the middle of nowhere. I kind of wanted to go over and check it out but we had to keep moving forward.

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Finally, we had made it to the top!! Pictured here is the Veterans War Memorial Tower, constructed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corp. It is made of granite blocks and stands at 93 feet tall. Currently, it is closed due to unsafe conditions but from its observation portals, there is a 360-degree view overlooking five different states! I would have loved to go up there but sadly we couldn’t. Nevertheless, the view was still breathtaking.

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Here is my friend and I looking out at the view, reflecting on all we went through to make it to that point. What an accomplishment it was. Believe it or not, we hiked through a torrential downpour a few hours prior to this moment, even though it appears sunny here. I was the only one who packed an umbrella so a couple of the guys tried to squeeze under it with me while the others took shelter under a tree. Once the rain eased up a bit, we kept moving. The rain felt quite nice actually, given we were all sweaty and it was pretty humid out. After all, it was the middle of summer!

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We ended up finishing at 8pm, right before it got too dark and we were entirely unable to see where we were going. So, we definitely cut it close but made it out okay thankfully. The aftermath of the hike was a bit rough I do have to say… My feet were so swollen and in pain, along with my shins. We went to get food and after sitting down in the car, I couldn’t stand up on my own due to shooting pains going up my legs when I tried to step so I had to be helped into the restaurant with two friends on either side of me as a crutch. Regardless, I still think it was completely worth it because it was such an incredible experience that I will never forget. After a few days, I was back to feeling normal.

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Here’s a picture to show you just what I was dealing with. This was the morning after. You can only imagine how much it hurt to walk! But like I said, I’m so glad that I did it and it was truly an unforgettable experience.

A total of 9 hours and 16 miles later, hiking the longest possible trail, I can now say that I’ve conquered Mount Greylock. It is 3,491 feet in altitude with a view that makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. Being so high up and away from civilization, it is so incredibly quiet and serene. Through ferns and thorns, mud and rocks, sweat and rain, thunder storms and sunshine, and up and over two other mountains first before getting to Greylock, we made it! What an adventure. This was definitely a highlight of my life.

It just goes to show that you should never opt out of doing something just because you don’t think you could do it. Believe in yourself and you can! I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d be able to complete a hike like this but my determination and belief in my own strength served me well. Don’t ever let fear and doubt discourage you. Be brave, be confident, and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve.

A quote that I really like is, “Challenge your limits, don’t limit your challenges.” This couldn’t be truer. You never know what you’re capable of until you try!

Now get out there and do something you’ve always wanted to but haven’t yet because of fear holding you back.

∼ Taylor ♥ xoxo

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