Sunday, September 22, 2013

My mountain experience

Some of you might be thinking:
"Didn't Colette go to a hiking trip in the mountains? How did that go?"
The trip was a lot of things, I felt so many emotions in such a short span of time.

We arrived in Vent in Austria 2 days before the start of the trip with the group. These 2 days were meant as preparation days to adjust to the altitude and also get accustomed to hiking for around 4 hours with a backpack on my back.

This was my first real time so close up and personal with the mountains. I had went skiing and snowboarding in the past I have never went in so deep and away from the world lived in part of the world.

The first days were tough, with me nearly giving up very close to the hut. However my fiancee's positive reinforcement, mainly reminding me that there is an apple strudel waiting for me at the top, kept me going forward step after step. I managed to reach my first top on these days and boy that was a nice feeling. I felt so empowered, excited and humbled by the greatness this planet has to offer. I also got to see glaciers for the first time in my life.

The hike to the Martin-Busch-Hütte

On the third day we joined the group for our 1 week trip. We were a group of 12 people with 2 guides. I soon discovered that this beginners course didn't have any beginners in it apart from me! Most people had been hiking on the mountains for many years and decided to attend this course to improve their technique and learn how to avoid dangers.

On our first group day we cheated and used the chair lift to increase altitude and then hiked to the Breslauer Hütte. By then I knew that I was the slowest from the group and was walking at the tail of the group. The walk to the hut had another first time. I walked on moraines which are quite scary to walk on, but to get easier the longer you walk on them. After lunch at the hut we continued our journey to the next hut, the Vernagthütte,  which was going to be our home for the next 6 nights. On this part of the trip it started raining hard and we had to put our raining gear on. I don't generally like rain but I loved being in the mountains in such weather. It made the experience feel more real. The ground was harder to walk on and everything was very slippery. Once we reached the hut, after 5 hours of walking in total, everybody was ready for a nice cold drink, a hearty warm meal and an early night.

Life in a mountain huts is very different from sleeping at a hotel. We were 12 people sharing one room. We had a set of 2 bunk beds - we had a quadruple beds on each level on the bunk beds! It felt like being at a Scouts outing. Secondly you don't choose your own dinner, you get served what the hut is serving. The food was actually nice and to say the truth everybody is so exhausted that any food will be eaten. The third difference to a hotel is that after 10pm everybody needs to be quiet. This means that you should be ready to go to bed by then since it's hard to be quiet if you're trying to search for your pajamas in the dark!

On the second day we climbed 3 mountain tops. I have to admit that I got scared at some points on this day. I'm a very emotional girl and cried my way up some other moraines. However I did notice that my will to stay alive is very strong! Once I reached the first top I knew those heavy feelings were all worth it. The view when you are on top of the world is so impressive.

On the third day we had a session doing knot techniques and climbing. This was a day that was meant to be easy for me since I know my knots and I did climbing in the past. However I was feeling very weak in the morning. By the afternoon I was shaking in bed with fever.

This unluckily marked the end of my hiking experience. I had a tummy bug which kept me out of order for the rest of the trip. It was a pity to not be able to continue with the rest but a tiny part of me was happy not to have to endure such physical exhaustiveness for an extra few days!

What did I learn from this trip? I loved the mountains but I don't want to do this type of trip every year. I preferred the hiking days that we did by ourselves since I didn't feel the pressure to perform as good as everyone else and feeling like the weakest link. I now can understand my fiancee when he's talking about his hiking trips and I won't be super scared when he is away in the mountains. And my condition has improved a lot in the past year but needs to be worked on if I want to hike Macchu Picchu in Peru next year without shedding daily tears!

The rest of the group hiking to the Wildspitze

1 comment:

  1. Wow Colette, well done! How adventurous of you, take care.



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