July 11 New Mountain Road to Greenhill 10 km
Today we planned out a shorter walk of 5 km-at least that is what Olivia told me. The rough terrain from the first day was causing my knees to ache and my ankles to be somewhat painful with each step. I was not complaining because I decided I would not quit-I had quit quitting. I was with the best of company enjoying nature and succeeding at something I wanted to do, with a best friend. Today was going to be a great day. We packed a lunch, ate a good breakfast and headed out. We would see waterfalls, rushing creeks and babbling brooks today. Again, I was not thinking about all of the rough terrain and climbing that needed to occur before we could see these sights. What I did know was that our “hike” was going to be more of a walk of 5km with beautiful sights to see along the way. We saw Albion Falls and were the spokes people for waterfall safety. Visitors saw our back packs and must have thought we know everything about the construction and fencing that was going up. We explained about safety and the dangers of trespassing and people listened us, some asked directions to other falls and others had us take their photos. We went from this persona to lost hikers-in less than one hour. We looped around and ended up at the same highway at the top of the steep escarpment four times. In those times, we met strangers who walked with us and were happy to help us find our way unsuccessfully the first three times. We discovered that people are generally friendly and have their own ideas of ‘how to get home’. The last trek to the top left me feeling defeated, very sore and tired. I broke open the first aid kit which I swore I would not do unless someone was dying. First Aid kits are like road maps, you can never get them back together to fit into the small space they came from. I pulled out a tensor bandage and wrapped my knee. Olivia knew that I had enough but she was determined to figure this out. I was voting to call a family member to pick us up. My phone was dead and Olivia vetoed the idea of calling for help. She spotted a jogger and asked for directions. He kindly told us he would walk us to the next blaze. He told us to follow him as he headed down the steep escarpment at a slower than jogging rate but faster than a hiking rate. I glanced back at Olivia and briefly wondered about pushing her off the edge so that I could wait for emergency rescue services and stop this madness. I reconsidered, Olivia meant well and knows that I hate defeat and giving up but also knows that if I pass a certain point emotionally, I am happy to lay down just before the finish line. Olivia and I pushed on and within a short time we were back on the trail and heading in the correct direction. We thanked our trail jogger friend and headed off. If we had not been lost and wandering for 19 km we would have missed some meadows and wild flowers growing. We would have missed out on seeing and hearing the babbling brooks and small water falls. Looking back, after successfully finding our way, I could only be grateful that we were so lost and blessed to see such beauty. Sometimes losing your way leads to spectacular things- it may not have been my plan but I was grateful to have experienced it. Sometimes, the gifts of beauty and time with a friend are worth the price of pain. The pain goes away and is soon forgotten- the memories live on forever.