Sunday, October 16, 2011

You WILL get a medal!

In September 2008, just days after we tied the knot, hubby and I took a two week honeymoon to Newfoundland. I know, a little bit of a different choice for honeymoon destinations, but who ever said you need to be predictable?

Newfoundland is actually a magical honeymoon destination, and the most beautiful place I've ever visited. Part of our plan was to spend five days in Gros Morne National Park, a designated Unesco World Heritage Site. We could have actually spent two months there, but alas, real life called us back home.

As we planned what to do from our cozy cabin, hiking Gros Morne Mountain was definitely a top priority. It's the second highest peak in Newfoundland, and 806 M high. The climb was supposed to be a challenging one, but we counted on the fact that we were in decent shape.

But no one foresaw how my post-wedding body would react to all the pre-wedding stress and jitters by getting sick. It happens to the best of us - you go, go, go, only to drop dead as soon as you have a moment to relax. Well, I didn't quite drop dead, but it was touch-and-go for a couple of days as to whether I would have the stamina to climb the mountain.

Hiking day dawned clear and sunshiny, and hubby ignored my whining and ushered me to the car. We set out early, as we wanted enough time to complete the hike before possible clouds and rain rolled in. The first part was easy - a slow, meandering 4km uphill to the base of the meanest part of the mountain.

When we emerged from the green forest (with chirping birds and ponds scattered here and there), we got our first view of the actual "mountain." Many people just hiked this portion of the trail, took pictures like all good tourists, and then turned home. But not us - oh, no - we were aiming to do the whole thing.

At the end of this 4km hike was a terrifying sign, warning hikers of the dangers in climbing Gros Morne. The sign went something like this:

All those faint of heart be warned: the next several kilometres involve a vertical climb upward over a steep boulder gully - which is actually a major landslide that took place not too long ago. It's quite possible another landslide could happen at any point, and you will be buried alive under the rubble. If you happen to make it up the "scree" (ie. sharp, pointy rocks), you will reach the smooth arctic tundra, which can often be shrouded in thick clouds. It's possible that you will lose your way at this point, and fall down the side of the mountain. If not, and you find yourself still alive, you will descend another 6km down a steep Ferry Gulch (read: scary cliff). It is not uncommon to encounter bears and angry moose. Use trail at your own risk.

At this point I turned around to go back to the car, but hubby had other plans. And actually, he was right - the hike up was the scariest part, but we made it to the top feeling exhilarated and proud of ourselves. The next day I was so sore I could barely lift a leg, but man, did I feel awesome! I'd just climbed a mountain!

The point of this post? Yes, there are things in life that seem insurmountable (eg. birth!). You will be scared, and you may whine and cry most of the way. But all of a sudden you will come to a point where you give in, let go, and start having fun. And despite the bruises, sore muscles and sunburned face, you will finish that challenge feeling stronger than ever before.

When you meet a challenge head on, and take the bull by the horns, despite all your misgivings, you WILL get a medal for your courage. Sure, it might not be a real medal hanging on your wall, but it will be there, all shiny and pretty - in your heart.

1 comment:

  1. So worth it. That hike sounded tough, but yes, getting to the top is the best thing ever and worth all the work. The view from the top is beautiful :)


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