Setting out to conquer a small 836m peak with one companion seems a simple enough task. However, no mountain is ever simple. This beautiful plateau was no different. Getting to the top could have been clean cut with trails that, finding out later, lead to the summit. My friend and I decided to make our own path. Finding a relatively exposed lookout point we mapped out the most effective approach to this seemingly harmless mass of dirt and rock.
Pressing on from our scouting point we immediately head up a sheer face of grass and dirt about 12m tall. This small feat produced a remarkably narrow and extremely muddy foot path. This was it. Our gamble to stray from the commercial path proved fruitful. However beneficial, this thin strip of earth gave us a run for our money. This trail was bombarded with plants covered undoubtedly with invisible spines; as well as treadmill like hills where the mud caked onto our boots weighing us down. But we pressed on.
The next section of this journey was steep but dry. It winded up the great beast and tortured every muscle in our bodies. There were many a time the words “I can’t do this” or “its so far” were uttered. Coming up on what had to have been the steepest part of the face. We dug in and stepped onto 250m long and 90m wide plateau. Finally! We walked over to the edge and stood there. In awe. The view was worth every step. Every strained breath that got us to the summit was taken away by the utterly striking landscape. We knew this was not the end, we still had to get down. We, reluctantly, pressed on.
The way down was not filled with as much wonder and bewildering views. This is the part of the story when something goes wrong. I was in charge of the way down; mistake 1. I chose the most direct but steepest path down; mistake 2. When I go down a hill it turns into a full on sprint; mistake 3. While making our way down one hill in particular I was doing one of my famous ‘scurry and hope you stop’ moves and I collided with a thorn bush this sudden eruption of pain caused me to stumble backwards off the cliff; mistake 4. Luckily! There was a minor elevation right before the abrupt drop off. My friend, whose view was just perfectly obstructed, was certain she witnessed my downfall. After we gathered ourselves again, we pressed on.
Thankfully, the rest of the descent was comparatively uneventful.
You never conquer a mountain. It conquers you.