My name is MingFeng Lei, and I have other name is Kelly Lei. I am from China, I came to the United States about 2 years. I am 16 years old. I am a sophomore student in Ballard High School.

I joined a cool camping trip with the Wildnerness Inner-City Leadership Development (WILD) program this summer. The most unforgettable moment for me was when we all hiked to a high steep ridgeline, to the top of a forest fire lookout tower, and painted the wall on the top.

At first, when we arrived to Heybrook Lookout Trail, northeast of Seattle, we all stood on the bottom of the trail, and the U.S. Forest Service project leader told us we were going to hike up to the top of the ridgeline, which is an elevation of about 1,700 feet. I felt nervous, when I heard that. We still needed to hike about 1 hour more.. I felt like when a mouse sees a cat. My body stared shaking. But I still needed to do it. I told myself, this is something I need to do and I need to do it beautifully. I don’t have any other choice; just do it. Then, I started to hike, I saw the trail was so thin and steep,. Also the trail was rugged and rough, just like my life now, traversing a rough and difficult road, full of challenges. I need to be the best and surmount it. I hiked and hiked. When I was tired, I took a rest, drank some water, and continued to go. Finally, I hiked to the top of mountain. I was so happy. When I looked down the mountain, I felt full of success. And the scenery was very, very beautiful like a holy and beautiful paradise on the earth, The top of the mountain always is the best scenery in the world. But, you need to surmount the entire hard problem by hiking up to the mountain.

After I hiked up to the top of the ridgeline, I saw a tall wood fire lookout tower, sitting at 67 feet high. The job of today was to climb up to the top of tower and work up there. When I stood at the bottom of the tower, I didn’t feel as scared as climbing up the high tower. When I climbed, I felt scared. The wood tower was very old and looks like emptiness. My legs started shaking, and I felt the tower moving, too. At this time, I told myself, don’t be scared, nothing is difficult, if you put your heart in it I told myself, I can’t give up halfway. I believed I can do it. I was almost to the top, quickly climbing to the top. Finally, I successfully climbed up to the tower. When I looked down the tower, I saw the trees were so small. When I looked up, I felt almost up to the sky, like I can touch the clouds. I felt I was in heaven. Then, I had other challenge; I needed to paint the wall of the lookout. I felt so uncomfortable because I was afraid of the height of the tower. But, at the end, my unceasing effort defeated the problem.

I had an uncomfortable day on this part of the camping trip. But I had a great chance to learn how to surmount the hard things of myself. I understood the philosophy from John F. Kennedy: “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation.” I understand that nothing is difficult if you put your heart in it. If you surmount the entire problem, you will see great scenery on the top of the mountain . Chinese people have a saying: “sweet are the uses of adversity.”

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