Food builds the body. Challenges make a man! That is what my father has always said to me. You see, adventure sports are thrilling but one can't deny that there are proper safety measures to protect you so that things don't go haywire while you enjoy the process. But when life throws unprecedented challenges in your way, you don't have any safety gears to aid you. Especially when you are stranded in the worst possible situation alone! Back in 2023, when I had taken a break from work for a few weeks, I decided to go camping and trekking in the mountains. You see I have never really thrown caution to the winds, but I have been fearless in taking decisions in my life and my parents have supported me through thick and thin. So I decided to travel and go solo to the mountains this time. On reaching the destination, I felt that I was transported to a magical land indeed. The beauty of the mountains was everything. Standing tall, even after being beaten by harsh winds since time immemorial and yet oozing majesty all the time! I started hiking early in the morning along with some other hikers who also like me intended to camp in the mountains intermittently. We all carried our own tents and essential stuff. Dusk had set in and we decided to set up our tents in a relatively plain area. Since the chilly weather had been already sending shivers down our spines we decided to light up a bonfire and soak in some of its warmth. Hitherto everything was perfect but things suddenly took a bad turn when a blizzard started. To make things worse heavy downpour also set in. We had no choice but to rush inside our tents. Sometime later sleep overpowered me and I went inside my sleeping bag. Much to my dismay, my sleep was broken abruptly when strong winds started blowing on my face rudely. I saw that a portion of the cloth of my tent was blowing in the direction of the wind. Had I not woken up in time ,my tent would have been uprooted and thrown in the abyss. With no option left , I went ahead and held the tent cloth as strongly as I could. But as I held on to one part of the tent, another portion of the tent started blowing fiercely. It was pitch dark outside and telecommunication was also not possible due to the area being a no connectivity zone. I assume the other hikers were also struggling to keep themselves secure in such a dangerous situation. I badly wanted to talk to my parents since I wasn't sure if I would be able to survive this tumultuous situation. I wanted to cry believing that my decision to come here alone was a blunder. However I couldn't cry since I was busy keeping my tent and myself together in one piece. The entire night went on like this and I struggled hard. I couldn't catch on sleep either. After some struggle - filled hours, I saw the faint rays of the Sun falling on the snow. Although what I had just experienced a few hours ago was no less than a nightmare, this scenery was something that was equal to having a once in a lifetime opportunity. As I stepped outside the tent , I saw the other hikers also coming out of their respective tents. We smiled looking at each other first even before discussing the events of the preceding night. As we admired and got enchanted by the beauty in front of us, I'm sure we said one thing in our minds in unison "WE DID IT!" Yes we survived the storm, we survived the nightmarish experience, we stood strong and were able to feel the charisma of the mountains. Now what do you think, did I climb down the mountain that day fearing more such challenges? No. I didn't. I completed the expedition and successfully climbed the mountain. When I had embarked upon this journey, I praised the mountains for them being so resilient. But now I praise the mountains even more because they made me more resilient and determined than ever before. The mountains practically taught me that I am capable of tiding over the worst situations in life only if I focus on having nerves of steel. I guess what my father has always said is indeed true!

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artist, musician, writer, Luddite

Troy, United States