|Picacho Peak in Arizona. Photo courtesy of azstateparks.com.|
However, there are tons of amazing trails in Phoenix and surrounding areas, and I love a leisurely hike when I get the chance.
Over 10 years ago, a friend invited me to hike Picacho Peak just outside of Tucson with him and his family. I wasn't in great shape, but I wasn't in terrible shape either. So I said sure.
Thing is, I had no idea what I'd agreed to.
See, Picacho Peak is a beautiful hike (see picture above). The first half of the hike is steep, but pleasant enough. I huffed and puffed my way up to the "saddle" (the mid-way point) and patted myself on the back when I reached it. I said to myself, "You did it! Look, it wasn't that hard." Even though it kinda was.
But then, my friend said we were going to the top. All well and good -- of course we were. But what I didn't know is that making it to the top required a lot more work. And steel cables. As in, the terrain was much more difficult, and hikers have to use steel cables for balance and help climbing parts of the mountain.
|Some hikers using the steel cables to climb Picacho Peak.|
Photo courtesy of azstateparks.com.
Let's just say, I wasn't thrilled at the prospect. Still, I put on a brave face and agreed to go. After all, you can't climb a mountain and not make it to the top. I'm no quitter.
I definitely wouldn't have made it without my friend's encouragement. There were so many times I wanted to quit. My untrained body ached and strained. My hands hurt from the cables. I kept picturing myself stumbling and falling, falling, falling to my death over the side of the mountain.
But eventually, I made it.
And the air at the top of a mountain never made me feel so alive as that one did.
Because it wasn't easy.
In fact, it was the hardest hike of my life.
But even today, over a decade later, I still remember it.
How many times in my life do I reconsider doing things because they appear too difficult? How often do I wonder if I should throw in the towel after a misstep? Ask God if He's REALLY asking me to follow that path?
Let's just say, more than I would like.
In my everyday life, being a novelist is my Picacho Peak. Nothing has ever been as hard for me as writing novels. I can spend a year on a novel -- putting everything I have into it -- and still not get it right. I'm still learning, it's true. But it can be disheartening.
It challenges me. And shouldn't the thing we spend our time on -- the things we are most passionate about -- challenge us?
Should they come easy?
I say no.
Because in my opinion, those things are the most worth doing. They garner the largest rewards, because I worked for them.
I sweated for them.
I toiled for them.
I ached for them.
Which tells me I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to with my life.
Your Turn: What are you passionate about? Is it worth the effort, the sweat, the challenge to pursue your passions?
*The winner of A Match Made in Texas from last week's drawing is Gabrielle Meyer. Congrats!