Essay by alexandersonayA-, October 2014

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I found myself with eight layers of clothing, leaving my backpack hollow in the back corner of the tent. I was with a close companion, a tiny tent, a fire and my purple lips. I was physically miserable, but the happiest I have ever been in eighteen years. Mount Laguna, California has welcomed me and my friend Steve numerous times through out the summer, but our first winter visit truly posed profound questions of my durability. The unexpected, painful night surviving the 20-degree weather ended up providing me with more warmth then I have ever experienced. I woke up the next morning, feeling like I had proof for myself that I am a girl with resilience, and endurance that can exceed my expectations when I test myself with new experiences. My December night in the nature of the mountains refuted my excessive trust in the man-made, and instead shined importance on the trust in myself to maintain my strength against greater forces that are out of my control.

The sunlight gleamed on us through the pine trees as we spent our day doing who-knows-what, but it slowly ran away from us as the hours of the day came to a close. As the sun went to sleep, the chilled air of the evening served as an indicator that we were in for a brutal night of shivering. A feeling of uneasiness crossed over me, but it was overpowered quickly. As I gazed at the dimmed, natural beauty boarding me, held the stick I found with my roasting hot dog on the end, and saw my smile reflect on to Steve's face I could not help but feel appreciation in the challenge the weather was threatening me with. In fact, the idea of driving back home to our fluffy, cozy homes...