‘But it’s so worth it’ really isn’t at times

On the way down from the top of Mount Garfield, Melinda Mawdsley had enough energy and humor to strike a “senior picture” pose, because the hike was ... so worth it.



Colorado is beautiful. I get it.

Of all the reasons I moved here more than a decade ago, the scenery and recreational opportunities are numbers 1 through 10.

When I post Facebook photo albums from my adventures, my Midwestern friends and family consistently post comments about how fantastic it must be to live here.

But — here is where I likely will offend untold numbers of people — at what point am I allowed to kick in the shins the next person who tells me all the pain or fear I feel while climbing steep roads or trails in Colorado “is so worth it?”

The phrase “...but it’s so worth it” should be the state motto. I can’t even count how many times someone has uttered that phrase to me while I’m struggling to breathe or worried I might careen off the side of a trail.

“Yeah, it’s steep. You’d never survive the fall, but it’s so worth it.”

“We’re going somewhere so remote that if something happens we’ll be stuck, but it’s so worth it.”

“I know we should probably stop hiking toward the blizzard, but it’s so worth it.”

My latest encounter with this cursed phrase came when fellow features writer Rachel Sauer, features editor Ann Wright and I hiked Mount Garfield earlier this month.

Rachel mentioned it was a difficult hike, “but it’s so worth it” for the iconic views and sense of accomplishment.

No, Rachel. It was not worth it. There are no views in Colorado worth having my lungs or Achilles tendons stretched to exhaustion.

I understand the fulfillment that comes from proving to yourself how strong you are. I understand some of the most beautiful views come to those who work hard to find them.

I understand this because I’ve walked countless trails and seen views so picturesque there are no words to describe them. These are the photos I post.

In those cases, however, it was “worth it” because at no point did I sit down on a dirt trail and cry.

(Yes, I cried on Mount Garfield’s lower trail. It. Was. Awful.)

I can’t possibly be the only person who has screamed: “This isn’t about whether I CAN do something. This is about NOT WANTING to do something” at the person who said, “but it’s so worth it.”

The views from atop Mount Garfield might be worth it to you. They weren’t to me.

(Determined to get me to the top of Mount Garfield, Rachel and I went back out to hike an alternate route that was longer but didn’t involve walking up at whatever ridiculous angle that main trail is. The alternate route is tough, but at no point did I feel like throwing up and dying. The views from the top were worth it. Thank you.)


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