I left the last post of Abby, and I, sitting in the hostel, on the couch, completely wiped out from the hike/climb up the mountain top. We anticipated that the walk back down might be difficult, but way easier than what we climbed up.
Our guide announced after a delicious dinner, that we would be taking the easy way back down. Well why didn’t we take the easy way up to begin with? And I looked at the way we were climbing up, and I didn’t see any route that would be considered easy… but hey, I am not the guide.
I would like to say that we did something while we were up in the mountain village that was meaningful to have us climb all that way up to begin with. But we did nothing. We died on the couch after taking the mountain spring cold shower, read “Glamour” in German…ok… I looked at the pictures, and went to bed.
I should have let Abby talk me into staying in the village below. That would have been more interesting.
In the morning, the donkeys returned to carry our stuff back out. We started down the same trail, but took the path to the left. I am watching the HUGE bulldozers on the other side, on the other mountain, move tons of fallen rocks from a roadway that is being cut into the mountain.
And then we cross a bridge, and s
tart up the other side of that same mountain. ” Oh good…we are going to take the dirt road back down” I think. And sure enough, the bulldozers pull to the side for us to move around them. Signs are posted with exclamation pictures, and falling rock.
And instead of continuing on the dirt road, our guide drops down to a trail that is full of broken slippery shale AND it is the width of a couple of 2 x 4s.
The one side contains the landslide rock/debri AND looks straight over the cliff of death!
Did I mention that I have a deep fear of heights?
I am dying. I am going to slip on this shale and plunge to my death, hitting all the boulders as I careen down below. ” OH HELL NO! I WON’T GO!” I am going to work myself up into a panic. I can feel it coming on. I have to pull it together.
And then the donkeys come up in the opposite direction, followed by very manly strong guys, using TREKKING POLES, and here I am, wearing my Keen hiking sandals with no poles to offer me the fake security of balance…it’s a crutch I like to use.
The group has charged down the path following the guide. Abby guides me down. We sing all the songs we know to keep our brains fixated on that and not the death plunge off the side if one of us slips.
I am sweating not from the heat, but from pure fear, anxiety, stress. I am trying not puke and/or pass out. So Abby and I bring up previous hikes we have done successfully.
The guide finally figures out that the two of us are way…way behind the others. He comes up and asks how it is going on the easy path. I tell him not so well since I have a fear of heights. He just looks at me and says ” why didn’t you say so?” I tell him, how was I to know this was the way you were taking us? You didn’t tell us about this!
So he wants to know if I want to climb back up – I just look at him…WAS he not remembering how I could barely make it up the mountain the previous day?
No… keep moving forward I said. I will suck this up and move forward. If I stop, I am going to hold on to the side of a rock and cry.
Long…long…story short, I baby stepped myself off that path. Once again, Abby was to my rescue. And the guide, I am hoping he knows how pissed off I am to have been placed in such a predicament. It took me several hours to get myself collected.
The good that came out of this adventure? I survived. Abby survived. We have an awesome story to tell for the rest our lives. And when I am tied to my wheelchair, I am going to say, ” Remember when we climbed that mountain in Africa and we thought we would plunge to our deaths if we slipped? Now, untie me from this damn contraption… slipping out of a chair is nothing!”