You may wonder at this point.
Well, to go hiking for the first time in your life, alone, to a new area which you have never been to before, in the middle of the week, in a rainy day, can be a life changing experience. Did I miss to mention that the area is bear inhabited too?
I was going to fly the next day and so had no other chance for any hiking except on that very day.
“You must be kidding!” said everybody. My friends. The hotel reception staff. My mom. Even the taxi driver when drove me there, was trying to talk me out of it.
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into”
she said as she eventually gave up on convincing me not to go.
Before I get off the car, she gave me a list of contacts I can reach should an emergency breaks. “But, what should I do if I see a bear?” that was my last question for her,
“Cross your fingers and say a little prayer. Aloud.”
I thanked her for the talk and safety tips, and off I went. I arrived at the location at around 8:00 am. Unlike what I expected and read online of how the place is always full of people, it was empty. I was there literally all by myself.
“Of course. Who would go hiking on a rainy day! Plus it ain’t a weekend anyway.” I thought to myself.
I had no choice but gather my strength and start walking as normal as possible. The quietness of the place was so scary. So alarming. I would stop every now and then to look back for fear that some bear would be haunting.
I started to sing aloud “as advised”. My voice was shaking but I went on: it’s been a loooong day, without you my friend, and I will tell you all about it when I see you again… There was no rhyme. No joy. No feelings in my sound. I was singing for my life, just to warn the bears that a stranger is walking near by.
I realized after only 10 minutes of the hike that my bag is so heavy. I was short of breath and started to sweat heavily. I packed a laptop, sandwiches, chocolates, nuts, dried fruit, water, and some make-up. Yes. I took my make-up bag with me too! I did not want to look pale in the pictures anyway!
After 1 hour it started to drizzle. “Oh! How romantic this is” I faked a smile trying to convince myself of the “wet” Beaty of nature. That mood lasted only for a few minutes before I slip and fell hard on my back. Mud got into my clothes, bag and even inside my shoes. But I kept on walking.
I lost the way in the middle of the road. There was no human soul to ask. Guess what? No signal either. I was stuck and I thought that was the end. For 10 minutes I sat lamenting myself and blaming the crazy me. If I wait, the rain could increase and then night might fall while I am there. If I walk, I would just keep falling and eventually injure myself.
“No. I can’t die here. I don’t want to die here. That would be too sad to end anyone’s life!” I uttered those words aloud. I wanted to feel at that point that I had a company.
So, I stood up. Wiped my tears away. Said a little prayer. And continued using only my heart as my compass.
I take a first step. Two. Ten. Before a miracle happened!
Human beings were walking almost two miles away! They seemed to be an old couple.
“If old people can do that, I can do it too!”
I hurried my pace so I could catch them. Then suddenly I stopped. I realized that I do not need to be in their company. The mere presence of human soul at that place at that time was comfortable enough. I suddenly felt warmth and love and positive vibes spreading all over my body.
Being a first-time hiker, I thought this whole adventure was going to take me 2-3 hours and after that I would be done and would go buy myself some ice-cream as a reward. Mother Nature has other plans in store for me.
After 4 hours of extreme thoughts and lots of ups and downs and falls too, I finally was able to see the peak!
I remember that moment very well. A moment of melancholic victory. It very much felt like going back home. Meeting with old friends. Moment of reuniting with the love of your life. I could not believe I was capable of doing crazy things. All on my own. At this moment, tears ran down my cheeks. I was lonely. Hungry. Cold. So I started to unpack and got a bottle of orange juice from my pack back. I took lots of selfies and remembered to fake some smiles so I can send that to those who questioned my abilities to take this adventure.
The way down was way easier than the way up. I happened to find people too. Some were nice and offered to help considering my very heavy bag. I thanked them and moved on my way. I did not need help. I just needed a bear to take a nice selfie with and post that in Twitter to my friends and followers. Unfortunately I did not encounter any. May be next time.
P.S: I’m grateful to be alive. And by the way, the reason I couldn’t empty my bag is because Bears can smell food. You shouldn’t leave anything behind you.
I’m Noor and I write from Saudi Arabia.
I like to read, dance and eat bagels. I also care to spread more content about the Saudi culture.
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