3 Life Lessons From Climbing Mount Scenery
There's no more water. It's 5pm and we've barely made it to the top of our hike. We'll have make a move to beat the sunset and make it back down before it gets dark. Cue the wolves howling.
I lied there's no mammals out here, it's just the two of us struggling to finish our hike in time since we didn't pack a flashlight. As we started our decent, we started to ponder what we could learn from this...
1. You are not superhuman
We were running a little behind and ended up checking in to our hotel at noon instead of 9 am as we had planned. Since we were only in Saba for two days we had to make the most of it and decided to do two 3 hour hikes in one day. Mount Scenery was our second hike after our 3 hour hike on Kelby Ridge.
By no means are we avid hikers, but somehow we decided the approximate time of 3 hours is for mere mortals and we were clearly going to complete the hike in 2 hours or less. The thing is we had to finish the hike in 2.5 hours as the sun was going to set! Things were going good, but the climb got more slippery as we ascended to the top. This caused a major slow down in time. Also on the way up we took a wrong turn (this seemed to be the theme of our trip here). The wrong turn did however led to us getting a spectacular view of the Windwardside.
On the way down was even more treacherous. It was really slippery and I fell down... twice! Oh boy did I fall, the saying big tree falls hard really materialized, my walking stick went flying and my legs went horizontal. Luckily I was able to brush it off, I'm 6'3" 200 lbs guy and my wife is 5'1" 110 lbs. My options of getting down the hill if I was hurt was not very promising. Calling the police for help would have been a spectacle, imagine being carried down on a stretcher, we would have made the front page (not sure if they have a newspaper). As we continued down so followed the sun and in the last half hour of our hike, we continued in darkness. It's especially dark on the hike because the trees umbrella-ed us blocking any moonlight or stars from providing us any light. We had to use our flashlight app on our cell phones! It felt a little ominous like we were in the Blair witch project.
2. Prepare Prepare Prepare!
You never know when you need to outrun a bear, rescue a child from a burning building... or in our case climb 1064 steps up to the highest point of Netherlands. Be prepared! We were lucky we had just enough water to complete both our hikes that day - combined we had drank 7 litres of water that one day. Dress for the hike and wear some good hiking shoes! We knew it would be a little muddy but we had no idea how slippery it could get on the trail. What really saved us was the simple walking stick we picked up at the hotel. They also provide them at the hiking hut near the foot of the Mount Scenery Trail.
3. Always finish
I want to start this section with a quote "Don't stop when it hurts, stop when you're done". This quote basically summed up what was going through my mind on the hike. My legs were crying, my shoulders were aching, my hands were shaking, I really wanted to turn back. But I felt that I had invested so much time into the hike already that I would have regretted it if I did. My wife was just flying up the steps mostly waiting ahead of me looking back with a smirk on her face. I knew she was hurting as well but didn't want to admit it and was just waiting for me to say lets turn around...with that smirk on her face.
I'll admit I'm a little out of shape to be doing two 3 hour hikes back to back. You really start to think back on life and realize all the mistakes that got you into this position. Mistakes such as, I should have stayed true to my diet and not have Burger King 2 times last week, I should have never made an excuse and skipped leg day, I should have never brought this drone which added like 20 pounds extra to carry.
Finally after 1064 steps at an elevation of 2910 feet, we've reached the top of Mount Scenery - the highest point in the Netherlands. The whole time during our hike we've hoped and prayed that the clouds would dissipate so we would be able to see the scenic view its name suggests, but it was just not meant to be today. Instead we were met with a dreamy misty scene.
We will take our small victories. Although we were a little rushed, we truly enjoyed our hike though this unique Elfin cloud forest with giant fern trees and elephant ear philodendrons. How often do you get to hike in a cloud?
Like they say, it's the journey and not the destination. Until next time Saba! We will be back soon.