♪It’s The Climb♪

February 22, 2023

Una M.

‘Family Photo’ by Uncle Schelly.
Feb 21_01 family photo

‘Family Photo’ by Uncle Schelly.

Aldo Leopold reflection.
Feb 21_03 reflection

Aldo Leopold reflection.

As my time at the Gump Station comes to a close I can't help but absorb every last drop of beauty this lively island has to offer. That means rising with the sun at 5:30 to take in the sounds of the roosters and birds that I'll surely miss once we’re underway. Making it down to breakfast and enjoying my meal with an ocean view, surrounded by all my friends. And most importantly, exploring the land!

After breakfast this morning we piled into our 3 rental cars and headed off for the hike of a lifetime. I am not so easily spooked but driving in a manual van up switchback roads the size of sidewalks is definitely up there on that list now. I was already in awe of the view by the time we reached the Belvedere lookout. Of course Uncle Schlley had to snap some family photos before our journey began which looking back was good because I'm not sure any of us would have consented to a photo after the fact. After a quick debrief about proper trail etiquette for a group of our size, it was off to the races!

Three Coconuts viewpoint.

Three Coconuts viewpoint.

The beginning of our hike was a wonderful introduction to the flora of the island. There was such a variety of life in every direction I looked. Some of my noteable faves were the ‘shampoo’ plants, which I periodically used along the hike as hair gel to fight the frizzies. The Tahitian chestnut trees were mystical looking with their huge flat trunks holding them tight to the forest floor. We learned about how their trunks were once used as signals to others if you had lost your way in the jungle; you’d bang a rock against the flat face and the sound could reverberate for miles. I saw a fern with pitch black stems and square leaves. I never thought either of those characteristics existed in plants. All the plant life was captivating but when it came time for the switchbacks I had no choice but to focus on my feet and hope to not slip while scaling the steep mountainside.

We went up, and up, and up some more, and then when you thought you couldn't possibly go any higher, we went just a little bit more up. When we reached our peak all the sweat and mud was clearly worth it. The view from every direction was phenomenal. We could see every side of the island from our vantage point. After a photography break we sat and reflected on our uphill journey to this point. Mikki read us a beautiful passage by Aldo Leopold on the perspective of the mountain as we took it all in. Surrounded by peaks we’d never be able to conquer, we envisioned the true power and grace of this magical land mass, as well as all the life in it, and life which relies on it, just as we do. With that beautiful sentiment rich in our minds we began our descent down the mountain. It was clear we were a bit more tired on the way down. There may have been a couple slips and slides, and potentially a detour off course at one point, but all in all we arrived safely to the car lot with all heads accounted for.

When we returned to base camp a delicious lunch awaited us. I wish I had more to say on it but I was so hot and hungry I barely had time to register the food on my plate before it had disappeared into my stomach. I washed my plate and within 2 minutes I had sprinted down the dock and plunged into the ocean fully clothed in my hiking gear. There was no time to waste, plus everything needed a wash anyways. Once I cooled down and dried off, it was back to the cabana where a surprise was waiting! Captain Kevo!!!!

We had to give him a proper welcome so it was a certified Captains Dinner. We had dress shirts and skirts all around, even a guest appearance from Jennifer! So glad she could make it. Our nightly debrief ended us on a high note with interpretive shapes to describe our day. My group was clearly superior as it depicted the mountain journey from our day past and joined everyone in song as we collectively sang Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” in unison. That's a wrap on another quality day for the books! Hope to blog again for you once we’re underway to Nuku Hiva. Until then, Una OUT!

I totally forgot to mention the chicken that happened to be at the steepest point in our hike. That guys wild. May or may not have been in a tuxedo.

Una M.

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One Comment

  1. Dawne February 22, 2023 at 20:17 - Reply

    So proud (and a bit jealous) of you and all of your fellow adventurers, Una!! Keep the blogs coming. Love hearing about ALL of it!!
    Auntie Dawne

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