Sunday, October 31, 2010

Climb

I have been hillwalking weekly for the past few months now. It is good exercise. But the one thing I never did was to hike all the way to the top of the hill. I can see the hill/mountain from my home. From there, it looked intimidating and extremely tall. Covered in lush green plants and trees, the only thing that is different are the communication towers that sat at the very top. Today, I decided that I should try and get to the very top.

The weather was cool today. It wasn't hot at all, the sun was blocked by all those clouds. Rain was coming, but I didn't care. At the place, you could either use the tar road, or the jungle trail. I always used the jungle trail to go up. It is not as boring and makes the journey to the top more interesting. It is also the route less taken. I started off as always, on a levelled path that served as a warm up for us hikers. Eventually we'll reach the slopes and have to climb our way up. Today I had an extra friend with me too, I had a sturdy and strong branch that served as my walking stick. It helps to have it when you got nothing to grab onto while trying to go up!

Usually the lush trees would shield us from the sun's ravaging heat, but today, it made the path looked dimmer than usual. Actually, my mum and some of her friends also hike. We would go together and the one and only man in the group would continue up leaving behind the ladies (or women) who constantly stopped to rest. I decided not to wait for them any longer today, and just followed Uncle Ram up. The first part of the trail is rather easy being that you climb up a little and reach a levelled part before another climb. This time, I climbed faster with less stops than usual, so I was pretty tired when I reach the first station. The familiar sight of the bamboo chairs were a relief for my fast-pumping heart and lungs. Usually Uncle Ram would continue his way up alone while we took the path that would lead us to the road. But like I said earlier, today I was going to the peak. With just a short break, we set out again.

The second part of the journey up, is the hardest and steepest. You practically climbed up and up and up all the way to the second station. There were barely any levelled part of the trail and this was exhausting. My left leg was already starting to feel some strain, but it didn't matter. I just dismissed it and continued on. Having slowed down my pace a little, I had more time to observe the surroundings. The trail looks like it was not taken as many times as the first part. It had more tree roots in the way, but they also served as steps pretty well. There were also some branches that seem to block your way, but you can actually use it to hoist yourself up! Along the way, I noticed big ants that are about 2cm long from head to back, once in awhile. They seem to be lost but I couldn't do anything to help. I didn't know how. So I just continued climbing, with several short breaks. Eventually I reach the second station. Finally! I passed the hardest test. And I definitely deserved to catch my breath. Here, there are several red chairs and I immediately sat on one and let those legs rest a little. As I rested, several more hikers passed us. They are older but they barely look tired and didn't even stop for a rest. I feel weak. But this is what training is for! Anyway, they took the path that leads you back to the road but that wasn't the one I was going to take. I was going to go further up.

After the break, we continued our way upwards. The third and final part of the climb started out as steep as the second part. My leg muscles were burning already. Good muscle burn. It was tempting to stop and just sit. But no, that isn't going to happen. I pushed my screaming legs and up I went. Eventually the slope became less steep and the path started to become filled with dried leaves. Signs of less people going through here. But every time I looked up to see how further it is, all I could see were more dirt and trees. It didn't help because I started thinking "I cannot climb any longer". But positive thinking did the trick when I keep telling myself "I CAN, I MUST, I WILL!" I just kept going further up. Then, on impulse, I looked up again. This time, I saw the sky and not more dirt and trees. "I'm almost there!" I thought. Few more steps and I..... No, I haven't reached the peak. But just as I was about to feel a little disappointed, I noticed that the place started to become misty. It was sort of enchanting and mysterious. 10 metres and more, things started to blur a little. The mist was pretty thick but that was pretty awesome. I had to continue upwards!

Here the path was filled with lots and lots of fallen dried leaves. It made it harder to climb, because stepping on a leave meant that you could slip. But of course, you can climb safely by just avoiding them. The last part of the climb was more like a walk. It wasn't very steep at all and with the coolness and that surprisingly strong wind that reached through the trees from the east to the west made it rather relaxing. Then it started drizzling. I continued making my way up, taking in all that surrounded me and letting go of some thoughts. It was very stress-relieving. As I made my way up higher, the mist thickened. Now I could barely see anything that was more than 10 metres away. The mist got way thicker and this was rather unnerving at first. But the drizzle had a calming effect. The sounds of water hitting the leaves of the trees and the earth. The wind blowing in your face. Within 5 minutes since I first saw the sky on my way up, I reached the peak. The communication towers that stood atop the hill were shrouded in mist. You could only see about 5 metres up and then everything else was white. Finally, I took a breath and made my way down the road, knowing that I'll come again on the next Sunday.

What I learned today, was that, if you keep waiting for those who lagged behind, you'd never reach the top. Sometimes, we have to take the step that most people won't dare to and we just might accomplish what we never knew we could. One more thing I realised was how the branches in the way seems to teach a lesson as well. I'm sure that people always say obstacles are there for sure. But I never thought of connecting it to the branches that blocked me. They definitely stopped you in your tracks, but they are also lessons that can help you continue your climb.

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