“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
The moment I walked onto the 11 passenger plane my heart was already beating out of my chest. For one, I am EXTREMELY claustrophobic, two, my fear of heights were already starting to overwhelm me. As I buckle up and realize there is no turning back, I grip my seat tightly with my hands, close my eyes and say to myself… ” You are fixing to do a once in a lifetime experience, you are one of the few people that actually get to see Mt. McKinley up close and personal. Its totally going to be worth it, so suck it up and get over your fears, even if its only this one time.”
As the plane lifts off the ground, my heart absolutely drops and at this point I realize there is no turning back. This is it. Here i am up in a plane above Alaska of all places, and on my way to see the top of the highest mountain in North America, is this for real? I snap some pictures and just sit there in a blank stare at the beautiful scene outside the window in front of me. I was at a complete loss of words for the image that is now forever burnt in my mind. Experiencing Alaska on the ground has been, up to this point, fantastic, and now getting to get a birds eye view on such a beautiful stretch of land is just breathtaking.
As we get close to the mountain, we were instructed to put on our oxygen masks ( if you know me, at this point I’m freaking out inside, trying to stay calm. Here we are so far up in the sky we need oxygen masks, what the heck have i gotten my self into!)
Here I am trying to control my breathing in this small oxygen mask, freaking out, when the pilot says ” There they are!” referring to a group of climbers that he has been documenting since their departure. As he gets closer to the top, he points out their camp where they stayed the night before and then pointed to their current location. As we all take a closer look, we see 10 people waiving and making themselves noticeable. Here I am facing all of my fears, sitting in a small plane, wearing a oxygen mask, looking out a plane at Mt. McKinley (at 20,000+ ft up in the sky) at a group of 10 people fixing to summit the top. Completely blown away would be a understatement. To be able to witness this group so close to an amazing goal was such an amazing feeling.
The whole ride back i just kept thinking to myself, how lucky we were to witness that. What an experience for myself. Facing my fears and reaching outside of my comfort zone was the best thing I could have ever done, now i have such a amazing memory to look back upon.