Last weekend I went to Thunder Bay, Ontario with my boyfriend for a little "vay-cay". It's a six hour drive one way, so we took an extra day off work and stayed two nights in the Bay.
On our last day, before the six hour trek home we decided to go to the Mount McKay Lookout, and as we drove the windy path up, we excitedly chatted about checking out the trails, and how far up we could get.
Now, eight months ago, I would have been excited, but also very unsure and apprehensive. I was 50+lbs heavier and not in very good shape. My boyfriend is a 6'2 naturally fit man who hasn't worried about calorie intake a day in his life. Walking with him has always been a challenge for me, being almost a foot shorter than him.
This time, when we got to the end of the trail, which was was a fun, yet treacherous boulder ridden, sandy footpath we were both smiling ear to ear. It only took us 20 minutes!! Yet as we hugged and looked up we were both dismayed... we weren't at the top... we still had at least 300 feet to go! We were at the end of the trial, it opened up to a nice clearing with picnic tables and places to deposit your water bottles and garbage. But neither of were satisfied... we didn't reach the top..
So with a sly smile and a playful push, I said... "Guess we better keep going, eh? Let's make our own trail!" and happily my partner followed.
We were lucky enough to be able to follow a "path" from where the water runs off the Mountain in a big rain... but that didn't necessarily make the trek easier... especially for my little legs (27" inseam"). But neither of us slowed down, we both made a few jokes about being mountain goats as I would use my arms to pull myself onto ledges and then wriggle my way up (He had a much easier time with his long legs, but he didn't leave me in the dust!).
By the time we reached the top, we were both huffing and puffing, covered in rust colored dirt and absolutely giddy! WE CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN!! As we looked out at the spectacular view of the sleeping giant we embraced. He said "I'm so glad I did this with you" and I smiled and said "I'm glad I can".
The descent was far more difficult than the climb up with loose shale and sandy footbeds. It took us a lot longer to get down, but we were both charged with the high of being at the top so we didn't even notice the time.
When we got to the bottom and looked up at where we had been standing, I couldn't believe what I had achieved. I knew six or eight months ago I would have never been able to make that climb. When I said this, my boyfriend frowned and said "we would have done it honey, you were just as determined before as you are now... your size doesn't matter.. it just may have take us a bit longer".
And you know what? He's right... we would have done it, but he would have had to help me up rocks and slow down. He would have been patient and taken breaks if I needed to. Once I had gotten to the bottom I would have been exhausted and ready to sit..... but not now.....
I was energized for the rest of the day, I could have done it again or gone for a big walk. I wasn't tired at all.... the climb was a challenge but I was ready to give it my all.
I'm still riding the high from that climb... sure it's not Mount Everest, but if I had looked at that climb eight months ago, it would have been. It's just one step in my journey for a healthy, happy life... but it's one that I will never forget. I did it without thoughts of giving up, I did it without ever thinking I wouldn't make it...
.....I climbed a Mountain.