My time in Yosemite has come to an end but with every end comes a new beginning, a new understanding, and a new opportunity for growth. My time now will be spent traveling north to visit family and friends.
Before I left Yosemite I received the news that a previous coworker and friend had died in a hiking accident. I was caught off guard, unprepared for a young and passionate soul to be taken so early. I tried to process the news but fear and sadness overcame me. I didn’t know Alex well yet anyone could see she had a beautiful soul. The impact her life had on mine was unknown to me until now. Her presence in a room brought acceptance and an invitation to be oneself. She lived her life daringly following her passion and that is a beautiful way to live one’s life.
I returned to my Camp 4 family with the solemn news swirling around in my head, and I zoned out with tears swelling in my eyes. The tears began to involuntarily roll down my cheeks and my ability to speak disappeared. My friends gathered around me, hugged me, and sat with me in my grief. They were comforting me but I could see in all their faces a friend they too had lost. We all began to grieve together. I came to realize that death was not something unknown to the world around me. The wilderness is beautiful but it is also merciless. The danger of adventuring alone was suddenly on the forefront of my mind and I was slowly becoming paralyzed with fear. I was planning on leaving Yosemite in an hour but could I now? I forced myself to remember why I had to leave: feelings of complacency and being too comfortable. I choose to celebrate Alex’s life by continuing to adventure on. No one makes it out alive but what type of life you live is up to you. Celebrate life every day and share your love and appreciation with the ones you surround yourself with.