At 5:30 a.m, the ninth day of our adventure began. Everyone on the boat was awoken to the song “How Bizzare” by OMC, which is always an interesting wakeup call when trying to get 12 teenagers out of their sleeping bags on the deck of a boat. I thought the day was just going to be another exciting adventure, but little did I know that it would turn into one of the most memorable days of my life. After clearing up trails for three hours with Jungle Jim, an elderly native of the island, our group set out on the hike. Uneven, moss-covered stone steps weaved through the seemingly unending rainforest, which bore beautiful plants and views. Our group expected nothing less of the scenery from the top of the mountain, and after what seemed like days, we finally reached the 3,000- foot peak of the highest point in the Netherlands Kingdom. Much to our disbelief, the view from the top of the mountain was one that was quite unexpected and to say the least, unforgettable.

Most Americans celebrate their American patriotism with family, friends, and fireworks on Independence Day. I, however, spent this day anchored next to, and on, the tiny island of Saba with 15 strangers on a forty- foot catamaran sailboat with a program called Broadreach. Needless to say, I had the most amazing Fourth of July of my life thus far, and I do not know what could get much better than what I experienced that day. When we reached the top of our 1,064 step, 2- hour hike up Mount Scenery, I have never felt so accomplished. During the hike up, we twisted and turned through a beautiful rainforest that was covered with many plants that I had never seen before. I was expecting the top to be even more beautiful, but as we reached the top, the “beautiful” view was gray clouds all around us. Unlike its given name, Mount Scenery was covered in clouds, and I could not see anything scenic or otherwise.

But instead of being disappointed, this taught me an important lesson that I will never forget. Even though we may take long and beautiful paths to the top of many mountains in our lifetime, the reward is not always what we think it may be. Instead of expecting a great outcome, I may have to search and find it. There will always be a reward, no matter if I think it is what the outcome is going to be or not. I often think about this day and how surprised I was when I made it to the top. But I remember, too, how proud I was that I was able to do that. I climbed a mountain in Saba, and I found the view spectacular.

-Elizabeth K.