Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hump One Hump Two

Oh, yes I am wise

but it's wisdom born of pain

Oh, yes I've paid the price

but look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong

I am invincible

I am Woman

Helen Reddy

I wanted to start of week 6 here at Fitness Ridge by reminding everyone that October is Breast Cancer awareness month. I am certain that I have met close to 400 women at the ridge in the past year and a half, so I have donned the pink socks because of how much you members of the fairer sex have inspired me. And congrats to the NFL yesterday for working so much pink into their games.

Friday was a big day as I headed out on my first intermediate hike. The hike was camelback. I grabbed most of my hiking team from the day before and off we headed on the 25 minute drive to Gunlock and my meeting with big rocks, steep walls, and long climbs.What the hell was I thinking?

The first indication I got on just what we were in for was when they sent the advanced hike on the same van with us. They were doing the same hike, just a little faster and a slightly modified direction. The second indication was when Paige looked at our little foursome of hikers and decided that we should probably have 3 guides to lead us. The hike starts with a steep descent of lava rock, followed by a hike through the sand, a climb through a valley where you see the two humps on top of the mountain. This is where you think to yourself, no way they must be joking.

Undaunted (okay maybe slightly daunted) we began the ascent on camelback. Now we are not exactly the most experienced climbers, but I was so proud of us. Each time it seemed like we had enough and the guides asked if we wanted to keep going we stepped it up dragged and pushed and grabbed each other and kept on climbing. Here's Marissa, one step back and she could have had to make the hour long climb down in about 5 seconds.

There was one optional part of the hike and it was called "the vortex" Imaging a hole you could climb into. Sort of like a bottomless pit...only with a bottom. Now I didn't come all this way to let something like a little vortex bewilder me. So I figured I don't ever want to do that again so I figured lets try this. I began climbing into this thing. I wasn't really scared into I looked into the eyes of my hikemates on the rim above and the guides who were pretty much all thinking "if he goes down" there is now way we can carry him out of there. Maybe if Paige had sent 12 guides.

The bottom of the vortex and 4 happy hikers and 3 very happy guides that Jim made it out. we celebrated by doing the native dance and of course me signalling for many touchdowns this weekend. Funny thing is for the first time ever making shadow puppets I'm not really sure which one is me.

A little more than an hour and 15 minutes after we started, Camelback belonged to us. One thing about the Ridge is it will push you to do things you never thought possible. It will make you believe in yourself, it will make you trust and respect and admire your fellow campers. And if you're really lucky for the first time in 20 years it will make you feel like you're not the fat kid. I have never done more in a morning and I have never had the sense of accomplishment that came from getting to the top. Now if they just could have just beamed me to the van I would have been so happy. 'cause it dawned on me that now we had to climb down and momentum is mot my friend heading down. 2 hours and 45 minutes after we began 4 happy, enthusiastic, relieved, and very tired campers made the last climb of the morning that one step into the van, adorned with the Biggest Loser logo. But no losers in this foursome. Thanks Marissa, Pam and Karen!!! And thanks to Annie, Kamy, and Dennis for leading us and for having the helicopter rescue team on alert and on speed dial.

This little guy made a guest appearance on the deck of the pool Sunday morning. He or she, I sure as hell wasn't checking, got a swift escort off campus but not without showing off his climbing ability.

Weekends at the ridge are made for one thing relaxing. Or going ti Vegas but this weekend after back to back hikes it was relax, relax, sleep, and nap. You earned it.

Happy Birthday Nellie!! Awesome first week.

Saying goodbye to Linda and Falene. One driving to San Diego the other making the 17 hour flight to Johannesburg. Sunday #5 on this trip. I have two weeks left on this round at the Ridge. Should be an interesting week with the name change Tuesday, Tara from the Biggest Loser having arrived last night with a film crew in tow, and of course a whole new set of challenges to conquer. Peace, Love, and friends, Jim


Katherine said...

Love the socks!

VAgirl said...

By far my favorite hike ever! It was a great group and it was amazing that we made it. I never could have got to the top of that hump without your help :)