Last year I was on my way home (to Spokane) from Portland and decided to stop at Multnomah Falls on my way. When I got there I intended to walk up to the bridge, take pictures, and then turn around and leave like I always do. But on that particular day I was feeling especially adventurous and decided that I would hike to the top. It was only 1.2 miles so how hard could it be, right? Wrong. It was one of the most difficult hikes I have taken. I was by myself taking a hike that was a mile straight up the side of a mountain. As I was going up I was watching the signs count down. Switchback 1 of 11. Switchback 2 of 11. I had to stop at almost every turn, but eventually I reached switchback 11 of 11. As I looked out over the valley from the very top of the falls I realized that it was all worth it.
On my hike to the top of Multnomah I learned a lot about my own perseverance, but I also learned a lot about that of others. I watched parents with babies in carriers, couples in their sixties, and physically handicapped people make the journey and I was inspired by their perseverance. At time it was their inspiration and my own sheer determination that allowed me to press on. I almost gave up at each turn, but I decided to keep going and when I reached the peak I was reminded of an important truth in life: as long as our choices are morally sound we rarely regret the things that we do in life but we often regret the opportunities that we allow to pass us by.
Obstacles in life sometimes feels like hiking up the side of a mountain. Switchback 1 of 11 feels like a long way from Switchback 11 of 11 and by 3 of 11 you’re ready to give up. Yet as we continue to press forward the hike seems a little less daunting as we reach 9 of 11, 10 of 11, 11 of 11 and finally reach the summit. The view from the top is beautiful but often it’s the journey that teaches the greatest lessons and it is the journey that holds the greatest memories.