The Initiation: Lessons From a Mountain

While Mt. Agung was threatening to erupt in Bali a fellow traveler suggested hiking up Mt. Rinjani, the volcano on the island next door towering to 12,224’. It sounded intriguing however I wasn’t in shape for such a hike and was not sure I wanted to invest the time in preparing for it. I was very indecisive until I jogged around a tiny island nearby as the sun was rising. The mountain was perfectly silhouetted and magnificent. I looked at the peak at a distance away and knew I wanted to be there at the same time looking back at the little island.

I researched some tour companies online that looked good but couldn’t get clear communication with any of them. So instead I found a travel booth with a nice big map of the mountain. I confirmed they were the same company as one I had found online that was rated well. They promised me they would provide good hiking equipment, cater to my food allergies with a nourishing diet, and give me a nice private room the night...

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A Backpacking Trip Leaves Its Permanent Mark

Feeling my usual sense of adventure and independence, I took off on a weekend backpacking trip. I had gone on many backpacking trips by myself with great ease and pleasure.

With the warm climate and short length of the trip, I packed light; just a tank top and shorts. A light sleeping bag and open net tent. For the first time, I wore hiking sandals instead of sneakers so I could be lighter and faster on my feet. Just enough food to make it through the weekend but lots of Gatorade as it was hot.

It was a short walk, maybe a mile or two to the creek where I would set up camp. Just a flat, straight and forested trail leading into the valley. Eager to get started with my long dayhike, I hung my backpacking pack from a tree and took my small backpack with all my emergency supplies, a good amount of water, and some snacks.

Slowly the forest opened up as I reached the hill. I had about a ten mile hike to make it around a loop to return to my campsite. The trail was to head straight up the...

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