❝We are not worried by real problems so much as by imagined anxieties about real problems.❞ -Epictetus
We pull up to the trailhead, and as we are getting our backpacks on and making sure we have water, I decide I don't need my hiking poles because everything we've read about this hike says it's a pretty well-traveled path. The story I tell myself is that this means it's going to be a relatively easy hike.
As we get started along the path, we notice it's pretty wide and flat, following a river upstream. So far, it's even easier than I thought. The only problem I am having is with these tree roots that I keep tripping over.
Fifteen minutes down the trail, I start to step on a tree root only to discover it's a gigantic snake! For a second or two, I feel relatively paralyzed as I did my best not to step on it. Luckily, I avoided the snake and didn't agitate it, so it didn't want anything to do with me. It took a few minutes for my heart rate to get back down to normal, though.
Thirty minutes later, we realize the trail is starting to narrow. In fact, it's getting pretty tricky to navigate. The trail is narrower, and we're starting to do steep switchbacks up the side of the mountain. The incline is quite intense. My legs are starting to burn, and my breaths are getting shorter. Combine that with the fact that it's hot and humid out, and I'm working up quite a sweat.