Masks are an essential part of our lives these days. Not only are they necessary for going to school or exercising, but trends such as mask embroidery are also emerging. It is undeniable that wearing a mask is uncomfortable, but doing so is essential for the safety and concern for the people around us. Last Friday, our school went on a hike with, of course, masks!
|[A friendly donkey, Photo courtesy: Isla Mattias]|
Friday started off chilly, as the Mediterranean beaches of Barcelona greeted the fall morning. We all needed a light backpack, water bottle, rain jacket, snack, and lunch for the expedition to La Mola (the mountain we were going to hike located in the national park of Sant Llorenç del Munt I l'Obac). With all the students masked up, we boarded the bus and headed out to the mountains awaiting us. When we arrived at our destination, I remember the rocky boulders looking down at us, as if the mountains were challenging us to a duel. We went straight away to climb up the hills. The hills were steeper than expected, and rocks were scattered around on the ground in an incomprehensible pattern, forcing us to trip over them. There were times when the uphill slope would continue for extended periods of time, making it seem like we were on a treadmill with the incline turned all the way up. On our way up, we also came across some donkeys that were carrying bags of some hikers. These hooved friends were beautiful and lifted the mood of many tired hikers, but they also left behind a trail of their droppings which became new obstacles for us. But one of the hardest parts of the hike was the masks. The masks acted as “anti-ventilators” that pushed warm air over our faces as we huffed and puffed our way up. Also, everyone was sweating under their mask, tempting us to take them off so the bottom half of our face could feel the fresh, forest air surrounding the rest of our body. But everybody wore their masks in an appropriate manner and continued their safe journey to the top.
|[View of La Mola, Photo Courtesy: Yujin Choi]|
After reaching the top, I saw an unforgettable view. The mesmerizing view was worth all the effort and the picturesque sights filled our eyes with sweetness. It was also amazing to be able to look far down while eating our lunch. Everything seemed so peaceful from that spot, and nature was untouched by the pandemic and seemed to cover the chaos that happened this year with its light blue skies and forest green branches. It made me thankful to be able to live unharmed by the dangers of the epidemic and appreciate the art of nature that crafted these trees and mountains. After lunch, we headed back to the bottom. Going down was much easier and I remember feeling as if I was speeding while walking down the path. Walking down was fun, and I felt embarrassed to have thought the hike was challenging because everything just seemed so much different than walking up. But this was until my friends and I got lost. On our way down, a lady stopped and told us that we were heading the wrong way. I still remember the panic that spread throughout my body when I heard those words. We started going up again, looking for other students. Luckily, we were able to get back on track and inform the teachers that we were lost. I thought that we were going to get in trouble, but to my surprise, the teachers were understanding of our mistake and told us that “getting lost is a part of hiking”. We were able to safely get back down, and the ride back home was the sweetest part of the trip.
As a person who is not a big fan of hiking, hiking with a mask was a challenging experience. I faced some great physical and mental challenges during the trip, but I was able to overcome them and was rewarded with the beautiful view from the top of the mountain. This trip made me realize how privileged I am and the importance of wearing a mask even during strenuous activities.
Junior (Grade 11)
American School of Barcelona
Yujin Choi firstname.lastname@example.org
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