The Hardest Hike of My Life

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So I’m going to do something I haven’t done for a while and publish some raw entry journals that I wrote every night while I was a mountain woman for 4 days last weekend. It was one of the most rewarding physical endeavors of my life to date; yet even though the entire trip required 100% physical exertion the entire time, it ended up doing some needed healing in my heart. ENJOY!

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(This is all straight from my journal, including the Chinese! )

我們今天去爬山. 我從來都沒有背那麼重的東西. 一開始爬上去, 我就累死了. 今天爬了11.7公里.

Day 1 of the hardest hike of my life. First of all, I’m not used to carrying 21kg on my back WHILE going up a mountain. So that’s a first time experience that really wiped me out once we started up the mountain from the trailhead. The hike to the trailhead was 6.7k, and before even hitting the 2k mark I turned my ankle. When we did start going up, I thought I was going to die. Thanks to Ocean, I was able to work myself up to a mental level of energy and was NOT the last one the reach the camp. It felt like the slowest hike of my life – definitely the most strenuous physical endeavor to date. And I have 2 more full days of it!

Besides that, I love being up here on the mountain, wearing warm clothes, smelling fresh air. This is the highest I’ve ever been! It’s a little past 8 o’clock… 晚安

Lowering myself down a part of the trail

Lowering myself down a part of the trail

The lodge we stayed at the first night

The lodge we stayed at the first night

我今天高深症了, 把我頭得想要死了. 但是我還喜歡今天爬的南湖北峰, 那邊很好玩又漂亮.

Day 2 of the hardest hike of my life. The mountain owned me today; it’s called altitude sickness. Once we exceeded the tree line (!!!) the trail was completely exposed to the big bright sun. I was on this trail when my head started KILLING me. Up to this point, the trail was hard but fun. Now, I felt like dying.

All the other hikers on the trail who also stay at all the same lodges have been super nice and friendly. One man took notice of my “incompetent” packing and helped me secure my bag so there weren’t things falling off the back of it. He and his friends also to0k notice when I “fell” ill today and was lying under a bush, hiding from the sun. My sunglasses saved my life. After resting for a while and receiving the kindness of neighbors, Ocean and I hiked the last 2km to the lodge. It was an incredible climb along the north peak. I loved it and was able to ignore the pain in my head that was not going away.

The same man showed concern for me back at the lodge, and his wife gave me medicine she takes for altitude sickness. Then after dinner I slept some before looking at the moon and the stars with everyone outside. I started crying. We’re so close to the sky here. Time for bed again. 晚安!

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中秋節快樂! 今天我們開始下山了.

Day 3 of the hardest hike of my life. Today we started down the mountain. FIRST, Ruby, Ocean & I hiked up the main peak of Nanhu Mountain. We didn’t get up for the sunrise because I needed to rest from my run in with altitude sickness and Ruby’s period was going to start. The morning on the peak was amazing; I took photo AND video. I was very grateful for all the pain in my head to be gone this morning; I have God and that kind man to thank. I was able to enjoy the altitude today! And enjoy it I did.

However, the beginning of our descent was a different story. Again, I was pushed to my limits. We had to climb up a rock basin and scale the 3-peak north ridge. The rock basin took everything out of me but I was determined. As soon as the going got easy again, I feel like I started running down the mountain. I rather enjoyed myself, going it alone, counting down the kilometers, climbing down ropes and rocks. And then it started to rain. And it RAINED. I used both ponchos I had to cover myself and my bag. It SUCKED. And it mostly sucked because of the part of the trail we were on. It was the last 2km, and it was annoyingly steep path of rocks and roots. The rain pushed me to my limits. I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be at the lodge already! But I kept going. I was screaming inside, getting soaked, and running like a mad woman to the end of that damn trail. Everybody back at the lodge was recovering from the downpour. Of course, it stopped as soon as I reached the lodge.

It was awful, but a learning experience all at the same time. Ocean, who was behind me on the trail, praised my will power. That made me feel good. I feel like I’ve learned so much from this hiking trip. Medicine for altitude sickness, better preparedness for rain, packing my bag; a man even showed me how to tie my shoes in a way that would lessen the pain in my toes when going down a mountain. It’s been a challenge in every sense of the word. Tomorrow, we continue our descent down the mountain and then get off the mountain and go home! And shower.

Straight down

Straight down

Ropes to help hikers climb down the rocks

Ropes to help hikers climb down the rocks

Scaling the ridge's peaks

Scaling the ridge’s peaks

The view from the north ridge

The view from the north ridge

The Final Day of the Hardest Hike of my Life. I’m home now, sitting on my bed, showered, fed and about to start feeling very sore. I had a rush of stamina and energy on our final hike today. It started at 7:30 and ended around 1:00. But it was the end in sight that got me going. It does it to me every time. When I see the goal, I can be unstoppable. I felt unstoppable on that final descent today. After cheking my phone and responding to messages, I (we) literally bathed in the river. It was the best way to end 4 days of hiking.

And I did it! And I will most certainly do it again. I learned so much from this trip. Every outdoor skill of mine was stretched and added to. I was a freaking mountain woman for 4 days. And now I need to do my Chinese homework.

Down in the valley is lodge we stayed at the second night.

Down in the valley is lodge we stayed at the second night.

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