Monday, 26 January 2015

Karen writes: Helping hand

I was reminded recently that you can be as stubborn as you like, be used to figuring out how to do things yourself and build all sorts of structures around yourself so you can achieve your goals but sometimes other people can make you go further than you thought you could. I was reminded everyone needs help occasionally..

I had the chance to climb a small mountain the other day. Unlike my favourite Mt Manaia which meanders up 2000-odd steep steps in a circular sort of  manner, this track was pretty much a straight line and almost vertical, so much so it was necessary to physically haul yourself up on the intermittently present rail.  To top it off, it was pouring with rain at the time, there was a torrent thrashing its way down the track, so strong it was shifting stones and bits of foliage with it.

If I had been by myself I would have given up when I hit the point where I could no longer see the steps carved in the rock through the water, given up when the rail gave out and it was necessary to find other hand-holds.  My biggest fear is not usually what happens when going up something, its the coming down that bothers me and I was thinking ahead to this. I couldn't see how I could possibly (safely?) descend on that track in those conditions. This is where the help comes in. Sometimes the most important thing a climbing companion can do is demonstrate that what you are being asked to do is possible, wait patiently for you to make up your mind then say the right words of encouragement when you finally manage it.

So I got to the top, with some help.  At some point the rain stopped briefly allowing a glimpse of the spectacular surrounding landscape, wow. Then the downward was quite a bit quicker and involved me spending a lot of time skidding on my back-side and hanging onto the rail with a death-grip.  But it was cool.  Really cool.  One day I would like to go back under other conditions, there will surely be different things to see when water isn't the main feature. I think I also need to remember that lesson on it being OK to be helped.