determination can move mountains...

yesterday i hiked gros piton. which is one of two side by side mountains on the southern coast. they were my first vision of saint lucia when i was flying in to begin my two years..

.i thought it apropos that i should climb one almost a year after my official swearing in date. though this wasn't necessarily a forethought. i was told by quite a few friends who had already climed this mountain that it was quite an easy hike and didn't really require too much effort...so now...this is either the first time i am feeling my age, the first time i have ever been this out of shape in my life...or they were lying. first let me start by saying that the initial tromp to the trailhead proved to be a little more of an adventure than expected. my friend bethany and i

jumped on the soufriere bus only to find that the road to soufriere was closed and we would have to pay extra to take that bus around the other side of the island to get to where we were going...later we realized we could have taken a different bus to get us there and in less time...but i regess...so the bus finally leaves and we are on our way...when we reach our destination...so we think...we are dropped at the road leading to the trailhead...which is two miles away. okay...no worries. it's a beautiful path and i have great company...so we walk and walk and walk...and then come across a seemingly 'crazy' man who is mumbling something about water, go that way, blah blah blah...so we laugh...and then about 100 feet ahead realize the crazy man was warning us of the huge gap in the road where the bridge had collapsed and you could not cross. ha ha...joke is on us...he knew exactly what he was saying. so we find an 'alternate' route which leads us to cross a creek while scaling a wall and almost collapsing. so the adventure begins. 

after our two mile trek we finally reach the gros piton station where we are met by our amazing guide curlin who will be taking us up the mountain. 

so off we go. it's hot. and i realize quickly into this hike that i will be doing a lot up uphill...climbing. i was winded and sweating and struggling. about halfway through my legs began shaking and i thought...i might not be able to do this. bethany was cruising up the mountain at which point i said...maybe this is part of being 34? before we reached the 300 year old mango tree...

i was having these conversations...what if i don't make it..i don't know if i can do this...what if i get stuck up here...man...i'm really thirsty...do we have enough water...then we got to the mango tree and something happened. i realized that i was pushing myself up that mountain. fighting to maintain a rapid pace rather than just enjoying myself and taking my time. i remembered when i was younger this was always a mission...challenge, push, see how fast and how far you can get. but on that mountain...something happened. i softened and quieted myself. i listened to that little voice inside of me that started to sing a different tune. i began to have these conversations...you are so blessed to have the strength and ability to climb this...take your time...enjoy the sounds and the sights...breathe...take each step in remembrance of those who cannot. 
and so i climbed. and i listened. and i breathed. deeply and purposefully. and i reached the top of gros piton with a new sense of myself and my spirit. and when i got to the top..i surely enjoyed a nice cold piton...

and enjoyed the view with my incredible friend...
before we began the hike back down...which by the way...was much, much easier. so thank you gros piton for giving me more than a great workout and a beautiful view but also yet another new perspective on saint lucia, on myself, and on this incredible journey we call life. 

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