Hiking the Four Thousand Footers in NH

After completing my last four thousand footer in New Hampshire on Saturday, I was filled with emotions I was not expecting- pride, joy, fear, excitement, and an overall feeling of being full. The journey was over, but it has inspired so many other journeys now!

I had to write an essay to receive the patch for hiking the NH48, and I wanted to share it below:

To whom it may concern,

Hiking the four thousand footers has saved my soul. I had surgery on my foot in high school, and I was told I would never walk again. Devastated, I was uncertain what I would do. When I discovered that I could walk again, I realized that competitive sports were no longer an option for me. I struggled through a few seasons of collegiate soccer, but the pain slowed me down and frustrated me because I wasn’t competing at the level I had been in high school. I didn’t want to give up on being an active person, but my identity was wrapped up in being a competitive athlete. A friend mentioned that I should hike the NH four thousand footers. Having never heard of them, I bought a map and began the most incredible journey of my life.

My confidence in my ankle and in myself grew with each peak I climbed. I saw how much stronger my ankle was getting, and I soon began to forget that doctors told me I would never walk again. With my newfound confidence, I booked trips to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and to Everest Base Camp. The four thousand footers gave me the courage I needed to try these experiences, and I succeeded with the mental and physical toughness that hiking these rugged peaks developed in me.

I’m not stopping now! I’m going to tackle more mountains, locally and globally! I’m doing the 52 With A View and the New England 67 (I’ve already finished the Vermont 4ks, too!), and I’m climbing Kilimanjaro in August. As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way!”

Thank you, NH48, for saving my soul and helping me realize that I can do just about anything if I work hard enough.

Love,
Shelby

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