Today I conquered a mountain and I don't mean metaphorically. I climbed to the top of the Pinnacle, a 2.1km steep and very rocky hike in Halls Gap. It was far from easy, in fact after the first 5 minutes of climbing over the rocks I almost gave up, convincing myself that I couldn't do it. Without the encouragement from Brad and Suzette I would have stayed right where I was, only meters from the carpark, and waited for them to return. At times I wanted to tell Brad to go far away (not so politely of course) as he pushed me to keep going. Often telling me that I can't use my condition to stop me from doing the things I want too, that I have to overcome it and keep striving. Turns out he was right.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I could make it. Between my dizziness, my sore right knee and the nerve pain all odds were against me. I had a big stick that I used as a walking pole to help steady me but many a time I had to hold onto Brad or Suzettes hand (sometimes both) to stop me from landing flat on my face. At one point on the way up we stopped because I was feeling dizzy (as well as puffed!!). A man that was walking past gave me all the advise under the sun to stop the dizziness (from eating jellybeans, drinking Powerade, etc) I nodded and smiled at him when really I wanted to tell him I had two tumours in my head that made me dizzy!
I was so relieved when we reached the top. The exhaustion that I felt disappeared when I looked out over the beautiful view, it was well worth the effort. One of my favorite places in Halls Gap has always been Lake Bellfield. Looking at it from this height was magical. With all the people waiting to stand at the very top it was impossible to stay for too long, just enough time to take a few happy snaps. It was Stephen who reminded me that I hadn't fulfilled my bucket list item yet...yelling at the top of a mountain and hearing the echo. I glanced around at all the people and felt embarrassed to do it. After hearing Stephens comment, It was a a mum and her two daughters that gave me the confidence to go ahead. They asked about Sneaky and I told them what he represented and why I had such a bucket list item.
Yelling out woohoo as loud as I possibly could and the support of those around was truly euphoric. I had tears in my eyes and felt like I had just been given a million dollars. An amazing experience.
Coming back down was a piece of cake compared to the climb up although we had to descend down some rocky fire trails. One section of the track we even managed to break into a canter. Making our way down the mountain, glimpses of the carpark insight, gave me a spring in my step as I knew that my journey of conquering the mountain was almost complete. Although I needed more help climbing down off rocks on the way up to the summit, my adrenalin and determination had me skipping over rock reveines with minimal assistance on the way down. The pride I felt when we reached the carpark was overwhelming. There was such a build up to the day, whether I could complete this journey, both physically and mentally. I can still hear Brad's words echoing in my head, that tumours and bullshit excuses were not going to stop you for accomplishing one of the biggest items on your bucket list.
At the pub on the way home we ran into the the same lady and her daughters that encouraged me to scream from the mountain just hours earlier. They asked me what NF stood for and what other items I had on my bucket list. It turns out that I achieved two goals today...spreading awareness about NF and conquering the mountain.