This post could be called ‘A true story of my foolishness and a great lesson to learn…‘
Yesterday was my day off and as I often do, I decided to go hiking in the mountains. Alone (as I like to clear my head without any disturbances), with a weak phone battery (who needs a phone while clearing the head, right! ) and without telling anyone where am I going (I like to decide spontaneously)… oh, and without paying any attention to a forecast warning about possible storms in our area (usually they never arrive in the end,… so what!) 💪
I chose a trail I’ve never walked before and was excited about a new adventure. My enthusiasm would fade out after two hours of walking, when the trail suddenly disappeared and I could clearly hear the thunderclouds rumbling towards my location. I was wondering whether to turn around and walk back the same way, but some devil whispered in my ear (well, no devil, but my stubbornness! ) to just continue. I was on the top of the mountain and clearly saw my village on the hill ahead. “I will just continue and hop over the hill and then I am home”… I was (foolishly ) ensuring myself. And of course I can make it even without a trail!
Well, to make the story short(er) , half an hour later you could see me desperately holding onto the side of a cliff (the way down was a million times steeper then I had expected), praying to any higher power to save my life, grabbing anything which could stop me from sliding down, with the rain pouring on me and making the soil and leaves super slippery.
Somehow I managed to make it to the valley in one piece, but then a new issue arrived – I knew I have to climb up now, but because my view was now all covered with trees, I could not locate my village anymore. I was surrounded by mountains and had no idea which one was the right one!
I was completely lost and as a cherry on top, my phone navigation would go nuts between the hills, sending me in circles all over the place but just not home. Plus: no signal to call for any help eventually.
I can tell you, at this moment the panic just overloaded me completely. Completely disoriented, with my body getting frozen, I started crying, hyperventilating, and could not take another step.
The last piece of sanity awakened in me, thankfully, making me realise that I am getting into a panic and that “we need to stop this…” So I sat down, with the rain still pouring down on me (there was nowhere to hide), focusing first on my breath to become regular again, then talking to myself aloud like a parent to a child: “now we will breathe.. That’s it, very good, continue”. Then I would focus myself with taking small steps ahead (so my mind would stop freaking out and just focus on every single next step) like: “what orientation point do you remember last? Can you see it? Can you try to reach it?”
I did. It was a river. I remembered that from the top I saw that I have to cross it in order to hop onto the other hill. So I did that and got a bit higher on the new hill. There I sat again, took a breath and checked the connection. It seemed to be working this time!
With the rest of my physical powers I crawled in the mud towards the top of this new hill. The navigation was promising me that somewhere there could be some kind of a road. I did not care for the village anymore, I just knew I have to reach any sign of civilisation. Finally, I climbed over the last cliff edge… And there, 50 m from where I appeared… my car was parked!
I arrived (without any intention) at the same place, from where I started my ridiculous adventure !!!
So there I was standing, covered by hundreds of scratches, mud, soaking wet and trembling with exhaustion… I broke into tears of relief and gratitude to God, angels, the Universe or just anything I was begging before to help me survive.
I know I was terribly lucky. Or maybe really protected. Who knows. But what I know for sure: that day I learned many lessons (actually useful in daily life too). A few of those are :
- If you are going to try something new or bigger then, ask someone to help you (in my case, do not hike alone especially not in new places, you dummy)
- If feeling lost, keep eye contact on the next stable point ahead.
- When the storm (or any huge challenge) arrives, lower yourself, calm down, wait.
- When your mind starts to freak out (or you feel like you’re getting into a panic): sit down and breathe.
- If you get overwhelmed by anxiety, use constructive self talk and focus on one step at a time.
- Listen to the signs: if you get a warning (“Vero, a storm may arrive!”), then damn, take it on board!
- Don’t think things/weather/current view don’t change. They do. Always. Period.
… and yes, if you wish, use a little prayer. But this I don’t have to tell you, because I bet it will most probably come to you naturally, even if you are the least believing in ‘such crap‘ normally (as I did😅 )
Now, if you pardon me, I am going to continue licking my wounds, scratches and sore muscles. I guess today I’m more mature, humble and much more appreciative of a warm cup of tea, a hug from those who love me and a cozy bed.
So impressive how one day in nature can put your priorities back in order, eh!
Be well and stay safe!
And in case you are heading for a hike (and do not want to find yourself in the situation like me) you can check couple webs which provide you with list of essentials. One of these is HERE (but I would recommend to check more resources, just in case 🙂