15 July 2012

Happy Sunday: Be Prepared (and when not prepared, be of good cheer)

Back in the day, during some year that I don't remember, when I was significantly younger, I asked my mom (who used to be a German language tutor) to teach me something in German.  

Whatever provoked my mom to teach me the most useless phrase in the German language was probably similar to what provoked her to put me in the circus when I was 6 years old.  Nevertheless, I always remembered it. Everyone knows it's the useless things that stick with you.  

Then something miraculous happened.  Two weeks ago, I found myself in a car headed to Garmisch.  GARMISCH!!  ICH FAHREN NACH GARMISCH!!!!  I said that blessed phrase over and over, not believing my own ears.  I was actually going to Garmisch!  My mom had incredible foresight. 

Garmisch is a small Alpine town in Bavaria, right on the border of Germany and Austria, and at the base of Germany's tallest mountain, Zugspitze. 

Ah, Zugspitze.  We saw much more of this mountain than we had originally intended. 

You see, we planned for a 6-mile round trip hike.  A day hike.  A mere gander through the Bavarian Alps.  I wore spandex leggings and running shoes and had a bag of Haribo Original Gummy Bears and a sandwich as sustenance.  

The trail got steep quickly.  We weaved back and forth between Germany and Austria.  The air was hot and sticky.  We were in search of a lake, which was meant to be our final destination.  I pictured a shimmering alpine-blue oasis into which I would thrust my entire body, backpack and all, immediately after first sight. 

Sara's dad testing out the waters

The trail started getting steeper.  We persisted, certain the lake was only a stone's throw away.  Then the hiking started getting technical.  Glaciers, loose slate, scaling rocks.  Where the Garmisch is this lake???  9 miles from the trail head, we found ourselves nearly at the top of Zugspitze, beaten and exhausted, at a tiny lodging for mountain climbers.  Yeah, because people don't do this kind of thing in one day.  They were all outfitted in hiking poles and big ol' hardcore boots and looked at us like we were a bunch of clowns.  Spandex and gummy bears represent.  

Germany in front, Austria in back.

We learned from one of said mountain climbers that the top was only about one mile away, but would take about 2 1/2 hours to reach.  We wanted to take the train down the mountain, but by the time we'd get there, it would have stopped running. So we opted to head back down on foot from where we were.  Another 9 miles.  

That is me gracefully scooting down the mountain on my butt,
 creating a rock slide that could have taken Sara out as
she posed for this picture.

Moral of the story: BE PREPARED (well, first, learn how to read a trail map).  Running shoes are not meant for hiking in the first place, but especially not 18 miles of Class IV technical climbing.  Also, gummy bears are fun to eat but provide little to no nutrition.  
"If ye are prepared ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30)    
          "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing." (D&C 109:8) 

And when you're not prepared, BE OF GOOD CHEER.  When we finally accepted that this "lake" was nowhere nearby and/or did not exist, we wanted to tally ho and keep going, curious as to what would be around the next corner.  The view was stunning!  The scenery breathtaking!  We may have been lost, but it was a gorgeous place to be lost in and we had plenty of battery life in our cameras and gummy bears to enjoy.   
"There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us....Fear not. Be of good cheer....Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family." (Thomas S. Monson) 

The ol' Zug was the most vertical, exhausting mountain I've ever climbed, but absolutely worth the adventure.  Next time I'll be more prepared.  But there ain't no mountain high enough to keep me from being of good cheer (sorry, I had to).

Sara and me 18 miles later, with Zugspitze in the back

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