I was sitting in my friend's backyard yard. When I say back yard I really mean paddock. Actually I mean small village, her place is huge. I was sitting there on her 23 acre property, next to the dam and watching a platypus happily splashing about in the water. That was when I decided I was going to climb the mountain looking down on her land. Of course I was.
I spend most of my time indoors making and writing so what could possibly be difficult about climbing a mountain? In my defence, it didn't look too hard. And I could remember climbing the mountain at Macchu Picchu - the one that gives you the incredible views of the whole site. That was seven years ago when I was running every morning and doing Zumba every week but hey, let's not let details stop us. I certainly didn't.
My friend is an optimist and she welcomed my suggestion. Her husband is a pessimist and he tempered her enthusiasm with a shot of reality. But I wasn't to be deterred. I wanted to climb her mountain. The one she grew up on. The one that is in her blood.
We set off and met this little lady along the way. She was just metres from us, snuffling and rooting in the earth, totally oblivious to our presence. We stood there and watched her for a good ten minutes before dragging ourselves away to continue our climb.
And we continued to climb. I was finding it hard to breathe. I could hear my heart pounding. It was ridiculous. We weren't walking too fast but I was already puffed. There was a bit if an incline but it wasn't super steep or anything. What on earth was wrong with me? Slowly it dawned upon me. Altitude. I was already at 1000m above sea level when I started and who knows how high I was now. Given I live at sea level, that's quite a difference. It's amazing how shallow we breathe when we live at oxygen rich sea level. (Hmmm, perhaps there's poem in that?).
We made it up as far as the bottom of the scree. The mountain is an ancient volcano. The scree is composed of porous, black volcanic rocks, tumbled and jumbled by a giant's hand. There was sun and spider webs glinting. It was the perfect place to stop, chat and snack.
I'm glad I'm 47. Glad I've recently embraced JOMO - the joy of missing out. Glad I decided not to climb the whole mountain. Glad I know when to stop. Glad I now know when enough is well enough. Glad I have a reason to return. Glad I have a reason to go home and get fit.
After leaving the mountain we drove to Liffey Falls. It was beautiful and serene. Cool in the dapped shade. The running water and serenity were just what I needed to after the climb up the mountain.