This is a personal essay I wrote, feedback?
I shoved my camera back into the left pocket in my hip strap and pulled the hood of my raincoat over my head. Looking ahead, I could see that past this gorgeous view, there were more ominous clouds looming over the next peak. Having five and a half miles to go before we could set up the tent and rehydrate some dehydrated dinner, I was eager to get back on the trail. As we continued that day’s hike through the Wind River Range, there was little conversation among the group. This was not typical, but I happily accepted the chance to catch my breath (since I was 10,000 feet above sea level) and spend some time just thinking.
As we passed another glacier, I made a mental note to look up what was causing the unusual pink color I had seen in so many other snow fields. Returning home, weeks later, I learned that Chlamydomonas nivalis, also known as Watermelon Snow, is a type of algae that grows best in freezing water and gets its pink coloring from a carotenoid pigment. This brought me back to the bag of startlingly orange dehydrated carrots I gracefully dumped into the soup later that night in a rush to prepare some warm food while we all shivered under a tarp on the side of a rather steep hill. This was accompanied by a lesson about how altitude affects the boiling point of water. Six months later, during chemistry class, I remembered that a pot may seem to never boil at altitude for the same reason I couldn't breathe after scaling what I didn't know would be our last boulder field of the day.
We had finally reached the end of the trail and I was just taking out the map and compass to start navigating off-trail for the first time, when those ominous clouds suddenly seemed to fall down upon us and settle into a thick fog. We were forced to stop for the day rather than risk off-trailing when I could barely see my own hand at the end of my arm, let alone far enough to shoot a bearing in the direction of the next trail.
Despite the fact that I couldn't control exactly how far we got to go that day and how fast the soup water boiled, I still remember it as one of the most rewarding experiences of the 3 week trip. That night, when we finally got in the tent, I began summarizing the day in my journal. While writing, I realized that I truly have much more control over my life than I thought, especially when compared to living outside, directly under the power of nature. I can easily drive wherever I need instead of spending an entire day walking, just to get 6 miles further. I can have any meal delivered to my doorstep in just 35 minutes without leaving the couch. I can google the answer to any question I have about pink snow algae within seconds. I can choose from 22 different AP classes at my high school or decide to spend 4th block every day in a ceramics studio. I can sign up for yet another backpacking trip and be sure that it will be just as momentous as the last. Faced with all of these luxuries, how could I justify not taking advantage of every opportunity? So the next morning I took my camera back out and memorialized the fog with a picture of what was left, because despite obscuring my vision of the mountains the day before, it made an eerily beautiful accent over the lake I didn't even notice the day before.