The Chief

A giant monolith of granite greets you as you enter Squamish. At 800+ metres up, directly beside the highway, it welcomes hikers, climbers, basejumpers, photographers and gazers to its helm.IMG_1886

Today it welcomed me.

The sign at the start informs “Warning! This is not a walk in the park!”

Noted. But they should add, “This is a calf-burning, lung-wheezing, butt-kicking struggle up a mountain.”

I’ve got my iPhone and playlist ready but once I start, find music is not what I crave, instead finding motivation in the bird calls and waterfall roars. Propelling myself onwards with mantra’s of ‘Plod on girl, plod on!’ Not poetic surely, but heartfelt fully.

Besides, I really shouldn’t complain. Look what’s beside me.photo 5-1

I hear chainsaws roaring as they build new staircases, evil, steep, but oh-so-sweet-cut-wood-smelling staircases.
dangerstairs Evidence that this may not be the safest hike ever…

I hear fellow hikers cursing, spitting, gagging and moaning. Myself? I resort to Korean exhultations of “Ay Eee go” which doesn’t come up when I google it but from what I remember is something along the lines of “Bloody hell” (said in your best British accent of course)

And when it gets really bad. As when I look up at the steep dodginess ahead, “You have got to be kidding me…”photo 2-2upup

Upon peaking, 360 degree views welcome me, of snow-capped mountain ranges, ocean inlets and my town. photo 3-1photo 4-1

Those I passed on the way up, looking weary and beaten, now arrive triumphant and accomplished. We did it. And it does not disappoint. Relief and joy.

Descending, I am sure to tell all the red-faced, gasping folks I pass still working their way up,

‘It is worth it. It is so, so worth it!’

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