Carol Anne Jones
2020 Enjoy the moment
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
2020 and my first post of the decade. Wishing all a great year ahead despite all the uncertainties globally.
On New Year's day I climbed a volcano. It’s elevation at 1717 metres didn’t seem particularly daunting compared to say the world's highest volcano at 6893 metres (Argentina/Chile) and I was looking forward to watching the sunrise over its neigbouring volcanos. However, I found the hike up and then back down not at all an easy “stroll up a mountain”. I'd had no idea what to expect but to be fair to the volcano, I only manage to get around 30 minutes a day exercise a day, so really need to do more cardio. Some prep would have helped.
To set off, I set my alarm for midnight, woke up and immediately went into snooze mode waking up to a concerned voice saying “the guide is here, are you ready!” There followed a desperate scramble to pack my camera, bag and quickly dress then jump into the waiting car for a two hour ride to the base of the volcano. Surprisingly there were alot of people waiting to ascend up when we arrived; there must have been around 50 and the guides herded us into separate groups ready for off. The guide was a young, serious, super fit local girl who told me she did this every day. We were given headlamps and walking sticks plus the usual water. It was now around 2:30 am and considering the climate there is sub tropical I needed a hoodie due to the cool, damp air.
We set off gently, and all I could see during the climb was the immediate ground and many, many flashlights in the distance shining brightly and viewed from my vantage point leading the way upwards. It felt like being partially blind. Soon the ground became loose and it was important to ensure your footing was steady. At this stage the guide told me to go carefully as someone had broken their leg yesterday. Oh, I thought, this isn’t going to be too easy and it sure wasn’t, the steep climb upwards continued for 2 hours and never seemed to ease except for a little break shortly before the top when the ground softened where the fertile volcanic ash soil had restored vegetation with grass and trees. The final push came shortly after that and was just as steep as the part before. Yup, I made it up and my loyal guide had accompanied me right up to the top having let the other members of the party go ahead. Yes, I climbed the volcano slowly but then I thought, why race to the top.
The view was spectacular and the top was crowded with instagrammers, drones, budget travellers , younger and older folk. We were given a simple breakfast which tasted delicious, tea, juice, egg sandwiches cooked in steam from the volcano and bananas. I took some photos, wandered around the crater, then descended down; the most physically trying of all, particularly on the thigh and calf muscles. Yes I did ache for two days afterwards, but it was well worth it and an inspiring way to bring in 2020.
If I were to take one thing away from this hike it would be the benefits of positive psychology, the climb was difficult, but there was no point in looking on the negative side, the positive bit was listening to my body, not pushing unnecessarily, and the sheer simplicity of enjoying the moment with each step.
Once again, happy New Year, enjoy every step of it and savour the moment for that moment doesn't come again.