what i think

I began to grow up one summer afternoon, alone, in the middle of the woods. I had signed up for a week-long hiking trip on the Northern Superior Hiking Trails in Minnesota; my hiking team consisted of three girls, four boys and two experienced hikers. The trip was designed “to build character” and although I wasn’t sure what that meant, I thought it might be fun and adventuresome. I imagined myself as Indiana Jones from The Temple of Doom, thrashing through the forest, looking heroic. My friends all doubted me and told me that I was crazy to sign up for such an intense week, but I just ignored them and began to pack. I was fifteen years old and ready for a challenge. Little did I realize, that my friends were right: this experience would be one of the toughest adventures of my life. And although I am glad I did it, spending a week hiking in the mountains forced me grow up very quickly. I also learned the importance of optimism and how I can rise to the occasion when handed new responsibilities. My understanding of the need to be optimistic in demanding situations took me the entire week to fully recognize. The first couple of days I was stunned; having never spent any time in the wilderness, I did not have the faintest idea of what to do or what would be expected of me. For example, when I was leading the group, the trail led us to an extremely steep and rocky mountain. I was scared of losing my footholds and even more worried that my improper choice of path for ascending the mountain might endanger the other people on my team. The leader advised me to take my time in making decisions and to just be confident that my intuition was correct. His optimism about my intuition carried me forward. In addition to the emotional leaps of faith I took, I also learned a great deal about my own physical endurance. When I finally reached the top of the mountain my body was in such pain that I stopped to take a break. My body was exhaust…

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