I nearly died on a mountain last week.
Some friends and I went to Iceland for a week.
And, while we were there, I did a whole lot of physical exercise – which, as most of you are well aware, is NOT my favourite thing, let alone my forte!
And yet, for all of my lagging behind and out-of-breath-ness and leg exhaustion, I did not shy away from any of our activities.
I walked through and behind waterfalls.
I hiked a glacier.
I swam in the Blue Lagoon.
I trekked through all kinds of terrain…
Basically, I banished all memories of my failings in school PE classes and told myself:
“You are an adult. You can do this!”
So when I heard tell of a VIKING TOMB I could visit… –
Yeah, yeah, Vikings AGAIN –
What choice did I have but to put on my three extra layers of downy coats and get my hike on?
I didn’t consider where the Viking tomb was.
My friends had consulted the map while I was layering up and I followed them blindly as I’d been doing all week.
All was going well.
I could see a very large mountain, but there was a worn path leading up and onto it.
People had been here before.
People had done this before.
I could do this.
Due to my diminutive height, I struggled to see anywhere we were going but up.
And, though my legs were already stretching to their limit and my breathing was becoming more strained, I soldiered on. Determined.
I lagged back to the tail end of the group.
That was nothing new.
I’d expected that.
I knew from experience that the others would venture further faster.
I assured them I was fine as they glanced back to me and told them not to wait but to journey on.
I’d be just behind.
I was merely pausing to catch my breath.
Or rest my legs.
Then the winds began.
We were high at this point.
Mountain top high.
The wind had been assisting me earlier – pushing me from behind…
Like someone taking my arse in their hands and pushing forward.
A little scary, but a help in the right direction.
It must be said at this point in the story (for those – if any – who don’t know me):
I’m a featherweight.
A short-arse, with no meat on her.
The kind of girl who has learnt, over the years, to stay quiet when others are discussing their struggles with weight loss and gain.
The kind of girl who weighs less than some people’s pet dogs.
The kind of girl whose combined luggage weight, upon flying into the UK when relocating here, was more than her own body weight.
I’m pretty light.
I do not tell you this to boast, but merely to give you a framework for this story…
Then the wind turned.
Thor was testing me…
This time, the wind was blowing from one side of me.
Urging me over the edge of the cliff.
Somewhere I wasn’t particularly keen to visit.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to plunge to my death before the holiday was up, let alone before I’d seen the VIKING TOMB!
So I did all my instincts told me to do.
I sat down.
I already have a lower centre of gravity than most – 5ft is closer to the ground than 6ft – but I took that centre as low as it could go.
I sat my arse down and I did not move.
I took the time to look around, to observe my surroundings, to get a sense of where I actually was and how dire the situation may really be.
It wasn’t great.
I thought about giving up and going back down the steep mountain.
But, each time that my bum raised from its happy, rocky place, the gusts of wind scared the living daylights out of me – or blew them out of me – and I’d sit back down again.
I thought about manning the f*ck up and continuing upward.
The others had managed it.
They’re all fit, healthy individuals, but none of them are seasoned mountain-climbers.
I hadn’t heard any screams of doomed friends plummeting to their own deaths.
That had to be a positive sign, right?
Down I sit once more.
I consider my options once more.
YOU WANTED TO COME HERE.
THIS WHOLE VISIT TO THE TOMB WAS YOUR IDEA.
I tried to self-motivate.
I was right, but I still wouldn’t listen to me.
Then I thought about the fact that the others would have to come down the mountain again at some point, so I’d just sit here.
Waiting for a few hours if need be.
It still seemed like a better option than a painful death.
I could see dark grey clouds swirling ahead.
Or my new favourite thing – snow!
I could still say seated there, waiting.
It would still be preferable.
THEN, like the hero that he is, my friend Doctor Kiwi-Face appeared from the crest of the mountain.
He’d come to save me!
I may or may not have been having a minor panic attack at this moment, so his arrival was well-timed indeed!
Bega-Baby was hot on his heels – offering support and bringing the car keys if indeed we did want to give up and return to the safety of the vehicle.
But the Doctor was NOT going to let me give up.
He ushered me to the shelter of a small gully to wait out the (what turned out to be VERY quick storm).
He offered his adult-human-sized body as a windbreak and anchor to assist me upward.
And we made it!
To the crest of the mountain!
I was SURE that we were just metres from the end.
Any minute now I’d be faced with my real-life Viking reward!
WE WERE NOT.
We climbed along and down and up and down and across and through a creek of water and up and arggghhhh my leeeeegggggggsssss!
FINALLY we made it!
And it was the most thrilling thing I’ve ever seen!
My imagination exploded with wonderings about how on EARTH any Vikings managed to make their way up here, carrying a dead body or two AND with the stone required to build the monument.
It astounded me to consider the age of this mound.
And I was there.
In the middle of nowhere.
With a view of everything.
And I’d almost given up.
You’re all wondering…
What is the lesson?
Well, I’m SO GLAD you asked!
Always trust your doctor.