One of the most physically challenging experiences I have gone through was a hike up Mt. Defiance. Like its name implies, it defied me every step of the way. This was the hardest hike I’ve ever done, and I hike a lot.
When I and the others in my group arrived at the trail head, it was about 8:30 in the morning. We set out full of energy, but soon were wishing to stop for a rest. The trail was mercilessly steep, winding back and forth in switchbacks. While we were still low on the slopes, too low for there to be any poison oak, we studied many flowers and learned their names. Luckily our hiking leader had told me the hike was "a two or three sandwich hike" (I should bring three or more), and to bring about 2 quarts of water. Because of that, I never ran out of water, or went hungry. We reached Warren Lake at 3,600 feet, and refilled out water bottles, then continued still upward. The first of us reached the snowline, then stopped; there were trails of foot prints leading everywhere through the snow and we had no idea which to take. When our hiking leader caught up with us, she looked around and decided to go straight up. We trudged up snow banks, digging our toes in to the hard-packed, partly-melted snow so that we wouldn’t slip and fall. The summit was reached, but we were dismayed at our view: clouds. Although there wasn’t much of a view (except the radio tower that we couldn’t even see the top to), we were still thankful that we had finished the climb. But as we all know "most of what goes up must come down".
After we had eaten our lunch, we started down. Now I can’t say with honesty that we hiked down, for it was more like running. The path we chose was a lot steeper than the path that we took up, therefore it was quicker descending, though very hard on the knees. When we got to the car, I was sore and tired, but felt that I had overcome the difficulty. The hike had been an exhausting 12-hour, 12-mile hike with an elevation gain of 4,840 feet.