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Cali Krause – “This I Believe” Winning Essay

Freezing cold, no phone, sleeping in a bag for one whole night. That was
my option if I wanted to go on this trip.

It was early February, two years ago when I first went to New Hampshire to
climb Mount Washington. I went with my dad, sister and a close friend. Doing
this taught me to make the most out of every experience, because one day you
will look back and wish you had done more.

Every year, my dad climbs Mount Washington and loves to bring whoever is up
for the challenge. We drove up to New Hampshire and got all of our gear on to
start the hike. The distance isn’t long, but the steep incline and heavy backpack
make it feel like forever. There are many wooden lean tos to stay in, and some
even with four walls. But we always chose one that has only three. It is so cold up
there and it feels like you are isolated from the world. The only thing you have to
worry about is keeping your body moving so you don’t get too cold. We shovel
the snow out of our “cabin” and set up our sleeping bags for later. The best part
of the whole experience is laying in the deep, packed snow, and looking up at
the mountain peak along with the bright stars. My favorite thing in the world.
Looking up at stars that are miles and miles away, but shine so bright while we
sleep. There is so much meaning in the little things in life and you can’t see them
unless you really want to.

Climbing this mountain requires an adventurous and open mind set. Most would
hate the whole thing because they are freezing, sleeping high up on an empty
mountain with nothing to entertain your mind. But the way I see it, there is
always somewhere new to explore and another piece of information to learn.
Now I know what it’s like to sleep in the snow. I know how good it feels to be so
far away from my problems at home and find peace in the nothingness.

This trip taught me to try new things and make the best of what life has to offer.
This experience was one of the many that have inspired me to do more. There
are no limits stopping us from living life to the fullest. Nothing is stopping you from
driving far away and letting go of all of your worries. The world has so much to
offer if you are willing to broaden your mind and do something you haven’t
done before. Life is too great to not do what makes you happy. This trip taught
me that nothing has to be perfect all the time. Not everything will be. On
adventures like these, my dad would always say, “Isn’t amazing how all we
need to survive is food, water and these sleeping bags? We have so many
things at home that we are always relying on, but we don’t really need any of it.
You can make the best out of nothing and being here on this mountain reminds
me of that.” It is moments like these where I truly reflect on my life. Why not live in
the moment? Why not take chances just for the fun of it? Our youth is a priceless
thing that cannot be taken from us. While we are young we shall live. We must
have no worries as long as possible before that opportunity is lost. One of my
biggest fears is looking back on my life and feeling regret for not doing all of the
things I should have done. I don’t want my life to be about all of my
responsibilities and stress. I want my life to be defined by fun times, the
extraordinary things, and overall happiness. Isn’t that what we all strive for? To
be happy?

This I believe, the world is ours to explore and we should make the most out of
every experience.

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