Monday, January 14, 2013

The Wrong Shoes Can Make Big Difference.

This weekend Ben and I hiked "Adam's Peak" here in Sri Lanka.  Adam's Peak is supposed to be where Adam first stepped foot after he was cast out of heaven, or where Buddha last stepped on his way to paradise.  You see, there is a stone with a footprint in it, and many different religions believe it to be the footprint of someone of significance. Thus, it is the sight of pilgrimage for many believers of many different faiths.  I would not say that Ben and I were on any sort of pilgrimage, but it was certainly a significant event.

The hike itself is about 7 miles round trip (I was also told 7 km each way- I will give both numbers just in case one is wrong), and most of that is stairs. We did our hike at night so that we could reach the top to watch the sunrise. I must say that both Ben and I underestimated the immense feat that was before us.

We arrived at our hotel at about 7:00 p.m., had dinner, and went to bed.  We had to be up and ready to go at 2:00 a.m..  We went to bed at 8:00, and things were looking good.  That is until 11:00 p.m. when I woke up with the thought that I didn't pack my shoes.  Ridiculous, I thought to myself.  Who goes on a hike and forgets to pack their shoes?  I tried to dismiss the thought, but I jumped out of bed, and looked in the suitcase.  IDIOT (this word is a bad word at our house, so I am practically swearing here) I. FORGOT. MY. SHOES. WHAT. AN. IDIOT. (Again with the bad word)
The only shoes I had were my flip flops.  IDIOT.  
My cries of anguish woke Ben up, and we both searched the bag again.  You know, in case I missed my shoes the first 1000 times I had already looked.  
I decided I would wear my socks, and just go like that.  Ben looked at me with that face that screams IDIOT, and told me that I could borrow his flip flops, which were a little more sturdy than mine. I decided that I would have to climb the mountain in flip flops.  
I didn't go back to sleep after that, and at 2:00 am.  We loaded the bus.  

Here is the rest of the trip in pictures and captions.

The top of the mountain from the beginning of the hike.
I am pretty sure that the movie "Joe Versus the Volcano" was highly based on this mountain.

Statue of Buddha at the start of the hike.
  Oh, so you want to climb this mountain, huh?  I will just lay here and watch.

I didn't take any pictures of the hike up, but let me describe it for you.  Stairs.  The entire climb was stairs, well 89% stairs.  And, it is about 7 km up and 7 km down.  Have you ever done a stair climber machine for 5, okay, closer to 4 hours straight.  No?  Probably because that is crazy.  Yes, crazy. That is what this felt like.
The good thing is that there are many tea shops and other stores that sell water and snacks along the way.  In fact, they were almost all the way to the top.  My thought when I saw them was that someone had to carry all those water bottles, soda bottles, and EVERY. LITTLE. ITEM. up those stairs.  It made me feel like a wimp.
We made it to the top at the same time as every other person who wanted to watch the sunrise from the top of the mountain.  We made it to the top, but couldn't really see, so we started the climb back down to find somewhere to watch the sunrise.  We didn't even see the famous footprint.  However, in order to see it, you have to take off your shoes and your hats, and it was really cold and crowded so we skipped that part.  We found out later that the actual "footprint" is buried several feet underground, so we wouldn't have even see the "real" thing anyway.

We did find someplace to watch the sunrise, sans the crowds and the noxious odors.  I didn't mention the odors, but you know, we have a crowd of people that have been climbing stairs for hours all packed together, and well, I am sure you can imagine.

Victory.  We watched the sunrise.

Ben beginning the descent. 

Some of the stairs.  This part was seriously steep. Okay, most of it was seriously steep.

Once the sun came up we had such beautiful views, which made the journey so much easier.

What a cute couple. And my favorite picture from our trip.  I'll make it extra large to show its importance.

And we mustn't forget my footwear.  Yes.  I am in fact wearing flip flops and socks.  Surprisingly my feet stayed warm and pain free the entire time.  I must add that there was a lot of praying going on in my head.  As an interesting note, most of the Sri Lankan people climbing were also wearing sandals or barefoot.  So I really fit right in...well not really, I think the socks gave it away that I was not local.

This is the mountain we climbed. Mighty impressive if you ask me.  

Overall it was a great experience.  I am grateful that my feet didn't hurt.  I am also grateful that we did not bring our kids.  Some people brought their kids and carried them up the entire way- I am incredibly impressed with them.  One of the marines also helped carry one of the kids up, and I am seriously impressed with her as well. One of the things that made the trip great was the wonderful people we went with. 

I am glad I did it, but probably won't do it again.

And from now on I will always double check to make sure I have my shoes.     

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