Sometimes the toughest experiences turn out to be the sweetest. That was the case for Karie after she found herself stuck on the side of a mountain.
Karie is the youngest of five children. Her three older brothers hiked regularly, but Karie and her sister weren’t usually allowed to tag along. When her oldest brother, Ryan, invited her to hike Kings Peak, the highest peak in the state of Utah, Karie couldn’t wait.
Hiking the peak was easier said than done, though, as Karie learned. High altitude and rough terrain wore her out, and in shoes a size too small, she suffered from blisters. After summiting to a beautiful view, the siblings started back down.
As they descended, Ryan told Karie to head straight to the parking lot while he took a longer path in order to reach their camp and pack it up. If she had been traveling at a normal pace, she would have reached the parking lot long before he did.
She moved slowly, fighting pain and exhaustion. Several miles from her destination, she stopped and wondered if she was lost. Even if she wasn’t, would she ever make it down? Suddenly, she saw her brother running up the trail and calling out for her.
“That was the best thing I could have heard in that moment—finally having someone there to help me the rest of the way,” she says tearfully.
Weeks later, Ryan and his 4-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident.
“I look back on that experience and I’m so, so grateful that I had that time with him. And in that last stretch to the parking lot, I knew he was there and I knew he was leading me out. I know he’s doing the same thing now,” she says.
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