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The Not-So Perfect Climb

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Well...yesterday was the total antithesis to the previous "Perfect" climb. I hated almost every minute of yesterday's climb but i completed it anyway. And that, at least, is something to be proud of. (Gee, what a whiny, negative way to begin a blog..LOL!)

It's not really the climb's fault, I started off resenting it to begin with because I had gotten a good chunk of it done yesterday when I realized I had lost my cellphone on the trail and had to turn back to search for it. I HATE not completing anything once I've decided to do it and so returned to finish the hike today. was a bit doomed from the start. I was still sore from yesterday's TWO hikes. And this was an obligatory hike.

I took off from the trailhead, making sure my phone was in a secured, zippered pocket this time. The trail starts off with rolling hills from blueberry bushes. I noted that they were starting to appear and made note to make occasional noise lest I come upon bears.

After the berry patch the trail began a steep ascent. My calf muscles began to protest. They had not yet recovered from the day before. A young man with a very large pack quickly caught up to me and hiked with me for awhile. HIs chatting was a nice diversion from the increasingly difficult trail. He was heading to the first ridge to do some hang-gliding. This pack while big and bulky was light and contained his parasail kit. After about 10 minutes of his company, he took off for a low ridge where his instructor waited and I continued on.

The spot of color in the photo is him hang-gliding below me

It became necessary to occasionally grab for a handhold.. There were no trees as the trailhead is way above the tree line so it became a matter of searching for a rock above me to get a handhold. I was no where near the top and became very concerned about how technical this climb night become. The rating guide indicated that it was not a technical climb. Was it just me? Was i that out of shape? I began to doubt my ability to complete the climb.

After scrambling over a rock outcropping, the climb began to feel very iffy to me. I was on all fours and often could not see far enough in front of me to tell if I was climbing myself into a place where I couldn't continue. My heart rate was booming and when I needed to rest, I had to turn around and sit right in the trail. It was so steep and the trail so eroded that I would start to slide down it. I actually became scared when I thought about trying to get down safely.

I was shocked that I still had cell service. I sent several friends, my husband and my two sons a note asking them to pray for me, that I would have the courage to finish. As miserable as I was, I didn't want to quit. I got the sweetest text back from my son:

You can do it mom. You're a badass. I've never known someone so determined. Man up I believe in you. I love you. Go!

I put an encouraging song to play on my cell phone and decided I would climb 25 more steps and then decide. I did so and then committed to another 25. After about 4or 5 such decisions, the trail eased enough that I could see the top. I was only about 200 feet away. I decided to finish.

With my phone replaying my "you can do this" song over and over and knowing my sons and husband were praying for me, I reached the top to find (as I suspected it would be) that it was only the first peak and that the very top was still probably 20 minutes away. I continued the ridge walk for a couple hundred yards when my leg muscles began to tremble badly.The previous day's hike had caught up with me. I knew from my marathon training days that I was done. I was very disappointed. But I decided to play a mental trick on myself and count the first peak as my finish rather than consider the hike uncompleted. I knew it was the only way I'd find peace with this hike. It had not been a fun hike in any way at all. Because I had done it primarily on all fours, there had been no enjoyment of the view on the way up. I had been too focused on simply a safe ascent and finding the right path and handholds. It was a "survival" hike and as such, there had been no real pleasure in the process. I decided to take what victory I could and release my need to climb until there was no more trail to be conquered.

I took a few minutes to take photos and enjoy the view.

But I still had to return to my car safely and my husband would be arriving home after two weeks away in three hours and I would definitely be needing a shower to look my best for him. And home was still a 40 minute drive. I had two hours and 20 minutes to get back to the car. I ended up having to do a good portion of the descent on my butt! All those 7th grade PE crab walk drills finally paid off! LOL!

By the time I got back to the walk-able portion of the trail, my legs were jello. I was VERY grateful to see the car. I would not be doing this climb again. Not even for the satisfaction of reaching the final summit. I had pushed past my discouragement, fear and even exceeded my climbing skill levels. Probably to the point of being stupid. But it was done and I drove away feeling both angry and relieved.

Oh well...they can't all be wonderful hikes.

Nite dear spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Looks like a great hike - and it sounds kind of rough, too! Hope your next hike it better!
    1295 days ago
    and wonderful response in the comments!
    Will be watching for berry updates!
    1296 days ago
    I am reading this a day late, but let me tell you, it gave me chill bumps! (We call them chill bumps in the South, where I'm from, but you might call them "goosebumps!") And your comment gave me chill bumps, too! Wow, wow, and wow. You are ALIVE!
    1296 days ago
    what a journey
    1296 days ago
    DSHONEYC - I get asked that and similar questions often "what about bears? "What if you got hurt?" "aren't you afraid of getting raped?"

    I try to stay on the right side of the line that divides boldness from stupidity. I try to take the usual precautions: carry a cell phone, carry a gun when needed, let people know where I"m headed, etc. I check in with photos frequently on FB which lets family and friends know where I'm at, when I've turned back, that I've arrived home safely.

    But I am not going to let the 'what if's" keep me from living life passionately pursuing what gives me joy. I love my solitude in the outdoors. I don't mind an occasional partner but it is very hard to find a woman my age who is interested in what I do or who has similar fitness levels. I am heading towards 55 yo. I occasionally partner with a younger woman but they usually do not have the free time i have or worse yet..they want to bring their children along. My husband would not appreciate me having a male adventure solo it is!

    Any life worth living is gonna embrace some risk. I try to manage the risks the best I can without compromising my quality of life. I've told my family that I want to die doing what I love rather than sitting on the couch eating ice cream!
    1296 days ago
  • GHK1962
    I think it's cool that you met up with a parasail dude if even for a little while ... then to see him floating like that is kinda cool.

    As for the hike ... yow, sounds like it was hard ... glad you got down safely and yeahhh for 1st peaks!
    1297 days ago
    Glad you made it. What amazing scenery!

    emoticon emoticon
    1297 days ago
    Keep on keeping one! emoticon
    1297 days ago
    Great going! Keep sparking!
    1297 days ago
    emoticon But should you be making such a climb by yourself? My concern is only for you...
    1297 days ago
    So sorry that this was a disappointing hike for sounds like you had a fantastic workout. Sometimes what we see as "failure" is not that--it is just a sign that we need to realign our expectations.
    1297 days ago
    Love your son's encouraging comment, I think you made a wise decision to turn back at the first peak. Goals are great, but so is safety, glad you made it up and back!
    1297 days ago
    Oh my goodness those photos are wonderful. So lucky to be hiking in such beauty. Way to go.
    1297 days ago
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