In the mountains, the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that you must have long legs.” Friedrich Nietzsche
816 meters = 0.507038893 miles
It seems so little when put into terms like that. However, the irony of hiking up a mountain is the guaranteed bonus that you will have to climb down an awful lot in order to hike up to the top. Clearly Mother Nature is not very linear.
My friend Becki is an awful lot like my two exercise/nutrition loving sisters. Because this woman is also a “balls to the wall” type of girl (sorry for the crassness) she has been able to inspire me to get my bum out and do more of the things that I find enjoyable. (Not saying my sisters aren’t that way, I just haven’t lived in the same state as either of them in over 15 years. That inhibits a few things.) Becki and I go rock climbing regularly. (Which absolutely came in handy yesterday.) We have a few events, including a 10K (no, I’m not running), planned over the next few months. And yesterday, she got me up to the top of a mountain. Let me rephrase that. She got me to the peak. There is a huge difference. I’ve been to the top of many mountains.
For those that don’t remember much past elementary geography I’ll break it down. (You know who you are…) Each mountain range has many summits. The highest point within the range (that is accessible to humans) is considered the “peak.” At the top of the peak there is a stone plaque as your signal that you made it. I’ll save you drama…
I made it. Spectacularly bad hair and all.
Because I believe that I deserve a certain amount of bragging rights for this particular accomplishment, I’m going to do just that. When traveling out to a mountain many times the bus will drop you off a few hundred feet already onto it. Thus saving you a considerable amount of your hike. Sometimes there is a cable car involved saving you over half the hike. Many times blahblahblah.
I did this. From zero meters to 813 meters. Bam!
Well, technically I did this….
To put it in perspective: The peak is the point at the top right.
We were at Gyeryongsan, which is my most frequented mountain about ten miles outside of Daejeon. Going the opposite way, the trail was far more intense so Becki took me the easier way. And I use that word with a grain of salt. We climbed to the first peak and she realized there was a slight flaw in her plan but we trudge forward.
At 775 meters here and there’s a long way yet to go. Somewhere along the ridge of one of the mountains I took a slight tumble, and well, I think I broke my ankle. (I’m quite serious in saying that by the way. I have experience in this area.)
While climbing down short increments along the ridge seems sometimes a welcome reprieve, it’s also incredibly frustrating to know that it is only elongating the eventual climb back up the real peak. There was an awful lot of climbing down though. And a bazillion (not an exaggeration) stairs to the eventual real peak.
Climbing down, literally on hands and knees at some points, proved quite the challenge for me with my already swelling ankle. Slow and steady. Not terribly slow though, it was already late. I was determined to get off this mountain before sunset. There were times that I thought of setting up camp and sleeping there overnight… on the rocks. At other times I wanted to throw those same cuddly rocks at Becki. I like to think that I kept fairly good spirits on the way up but on the way down I was not happy anymore. Hiking down sometimes seems the hardest. While strength is not as necessary, balance, agility, and grace is of major importance. Gravity is no longer on your side.
We started at 10:27…
And we exited the park at 6:06 after an amazing hike and a delicious dinner. It was a fantastic day and my muscles remember it quite clearly today. They are screaming at me with every step.