Rejected from Harvard

We woke up at 4:00am while the sun remained asleep, and we fumbled in the darkness to find our headlamps. As we prepared our routinely plain oatmeal with sprinkles of sugar for breakfast, the cold morning air was filled with excitement. Today was the most anticipated day of our expedition; this was the day that we planned on summiting Mount Harvard, a 14,423’ mountain.

I felt ecstatic, having received the honor of leading the group through this exciting day. My oatmeal tasted unique, and sweeter than usual in the darkness because of my peers and my eager anticipation to climb Harvard. The sun snoozed as we mounted our backpacks and tiptoed along the trail towards Harvard. On our long journey, the sun woke up to our boisterous laughter and entertaining trail games. I felt nervous because I lacked confidence in my map skills and possessed a general fear of getting my group members lost, but they and JP, our expedition leader, were active followers and aided me in the navigation process.

As we approached the shoulder of Mount Harvard, a giant patch of snow blocked the trail and forced us to find an alternate route to the ridge, so we decided to cross a nearby stream and walk around the snow. After shuffling across the lively stream, we rested and located ourselves and the ridge on the map. Fueled by excitement, we continued our march towards the ridge, where we would drop our packs and summit Harvard.

We faced a long uphill battle. There were wildflowers and dead trees decorating the mountain, making the views beautiful. The climb up was extremely difficult, as we had one injured and another sick member in our crew. We took a lot of breaks, allowing them to breathe, and as we climbed higher, the view grew more beautiful. To our left we saw blue mountains stretching into the distance. To our right was a ridge resembling a serrated knife with snow capping it. Finally, shouting in victory, we reached the shoulder.

We lay on the shoulder, waiting for the other group to catch up, as well as our breath. We ate and relaxed as ants marched through the wildflowers around us. We climbed on a pile of rocks to watch the other group’s approach, cheering them along. When they finally joined us, at 11:30, we rejoiced and took photos in front of Mount Harvard to commemorate our victory. JP told us that it was too late to summit Harvard, to our great disappointment.

However, as we continued to hang out as a group, our mood bettered. We extinguished our shadow of disappointment with radiant smiles and thundering laughter. We commemorated our achievement of having reached the ridge by taking a jumping picture in which we reached for the peak of Harvard. We converted our seeds of disappointment into flowers of joy, and Harvard seemed jealous of the lively ridge. Time seemed to stop as we admired the views around us and each other’s company. When time continued its march, we walked alongside it down the ridge with our boisterous laughter and entertaining trail games, coming full circle from the beginning of our journey. We did not reach the crown of Harvard, but I was relieved to be a part of this ebullient and unforgettable adventure.

We extinguished our shadow of disappointment with radiant smiles and thundering laughter. We commemorated our achievement of having reached the ridge by taking a jumping picture in which we reached for the peak of Harvard. We converted our seeds of disappointment into flowers of joy, and Harvard seemed jealous of the lively ridge. Time seemed to stop as we admired the views around us and each other’s company. When time continued its march, we walked alongside it down the ridge with our boisterous laughter and entertaining trail games, coming full circle from the beginning of our journey. We did not reach the crown of Harvard, but I was relieved to be a part of this ebullient and unforgettable adventure.

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