Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Special Thanks to the snake at Lair O The Bear Park

I've been asked many times "Why did you start running?" or "What made you decide to climb a 14'er?" The little known answer is that I began my pursuits after an encounter with a certain snake.

It was this past July and I was checking out a trail for the next group hike I was planning. I wasn't paying attention to the trail when out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move... no, not move, slither. Slithering in that gross, horrible way snakes do. Without a moments hesitation I turned and ran; ran in my big, klunky hiking boots the entire mile back to the parking lot.

What exactly does this have to do with my above mentioned goals, you ask? Before I answer that, you have to understand that I don't have a fear of snakes, I have a FEAR OF SNAKES. As in, I'm terrified of the ugly, slithering things that plague this earth. I have been known to hide when I see a snake on television. It all harkens back to my childhood and a run in (literally) with a snake near my playset. Suffice it to say that snakes and I have never been friends.

However, sometimes fear can be a good thing. And this time, this one time, the fear of snakes propelled me to do things I never imagined I could. Running back to the parking lot made me realize I can run, and I haven't stopped since. My desire to not see a snake again pushed me to pursue hikes at a higher elevation (the wonderful place where snakes never appear) and I just kept climbing higher and higher until I reached the top of a 14er.

I have lots of other fears that have stopped me from pursuing many of my dreams. I will be facing many of them next week during camp and I have to admit that unnerves me a bit. But then I remind myself of the affect that one snake had on me and I think, maybe, just maybe, something good can come from those fears as well.

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