By Megan Hight, Troy, Montana
The time had come. I was the oldest child; my dad had been waiting my whole life for this moment and I wasn’t about to let him down now by now going with. It was the first day of hunting season, and the air was chilly. We had gone to the shooting range, practicing, and all that practice leading up to this day. It was my time to shine. We pack the essentials, grab the guns and we were out the door; the frigid morning air nipping at my nose. It’s not yet light outside, and we drive for what seems like forever. I will never forget the setting; my dad driving down the road, the heat blasting because I wanted to get internally warm, he kept playing “Watching Airplanes” by Gary Allen over and over because it was the one I knew best. That moment will be engraved in my mind forever.
We arrived at our “secret hunting spot,” as my dad called it, and we hop out, making sure to shut the doors quietly. The cold air hit me like a freight train. I instantly regretted my decision to try and get “internally warm.” As I stood there, looking at the massive mountain we were about to climb, all I could feel was excitement. Being with two of the things I loved most; my dad and nature. We were off on our grand adventure.
Growing up, I always went on hikes with my family, but having two younger siblings we always took it slow. My dad did not hold back when he signed us up for this hike. Straight up the mountain we went. Before every hike, we would always pack a little food fuel. As we were hiking, I tried my best to keep quiet while I reached around to my pack to grab the mini snickers bar I had packed for my lunch. Obviously, I wasn’t doing such a good job at keeping quiet, when my dad turned around. At first, I felt a little sheepish, grabbing into my pack when it wasn’t even lunch time, but then I saw the look on my dad’s face. He looked at me, smiled, reached in his pack and grabbed his baby snickers out as well. We stopped and ate our baby snickers in the peace and quiet before we trekked back on up the mountain.
Before reaching the top of that mountain, I had thought I had seen beauty in the world. You go around; you see a horse running freely through a pasture, that’s beauty. You’re driving down the rode, and you see a deer and her fawn, that’s beauty. But when I reached the top of that mountain, I didn’t even have a word in mind. Speechless. I had never seen anything so beautiful in all my young life and I still don’t think I ever will. Looking down on everything, all misty, with the sun peeking through the clouds hitting the earth just right, it was all I could do to just stand there in awe. I looked over to my dad, thinking he’d be looking at the same view as me, but when I looked his direction, I met his eyes, and I knew this was going to be a day I would never forget. And right then I understood why my dad had waited for this moment my whole life.
Megan Hight graduated from Troy High School this year. This essay won the annual Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness scholarship competition at Troy High School.