Last weekend I went on a 2 day trip to one of the most rural parts of Jamaica to see if I could do something I have always wanted to do, hike to the top of Blue Mountain Peak, the highest point in Jamaica. I tried it once, many years ago as a teenager but failed due to a few reasons, the main ones being a member of our group wasn’t well and I myself wasn’t too fit as back then I struggled with really bad asthma. This time though I decided that no matter what I will make it to the top and I am proud to say I did it!

Gio did another masterful collage. Can you find me in any of the pictures?

It started easily enough but then…

Now that I have completed the hike, looking back I’d split the hike into four parts. The first quarter was easiest – I left the cabin with the group full of energy, giggling and laughing into the darkness while imagining my flashlight was a light saber. Bythe time I got into the second quarter it was becoming apparent that this was no stroll in the park. I was quite warm still at around 2am but the cold air going into my lungs wasn’t helping much and the group was beginning to spread out and guess who was closest to the back of the group? I stopped to catch my breath and while sitting there in the darkness of night listening to crickets I started to question if I could make it. Stopped not for about 10 minutes I was beginning to get chilly and uncomfortable in my chest area while thinking that I am not even half the way yet and could easily go back from whence I came – as a failure.

Rescued and Inspired

Then out of the darkness I heared the sweetness voice in a very concerned tone “Kirk, Kirk, where are you? are you ok?” It was like a scene out of a romance novel but instead of the girl being rescued by the guy it was me being rescued by my girlfriend! She came like a scene from a paramedic super hero flick refueling me with a donut and water while offering encouragement. By then another group member Gio joined us and was busy siphoning off my supplies, although to be fair he was suffering as much as me.

Blue Mountain Coffee, this post would not be complete without a picture of a coffee plant

Bruised Ego then cold, wet VICTORY!

Recharged after my sugar injection, I decided that I had to repair my bruised ego and although I fell behind again the guide was kind enough to stick close to me and we chatted about everything from Cuba to shoe sizes during the 3rd quarter of the journey as the rain came trickling down. Then came the super hard part, more than 4 hours of almost constant uphill walking was starting to take its toll and I had to focus all my chakra to my legs as the rain started to get heavier; soaking right through my clothes to my skin as I started the last and most difficult quarter. I was cold, hungry and tired but I was less than a kilometer from the top and I could see light behind the clouds, it was almost 6am. Around 6:15am on Sunday January 30th 2011 I made it to the top, letting off a “loudish” grunt/scream when I realized it before hurriedly looking for a spot to sit down before I collapsed. After a few minutes rest I was so happy I did a happy dance!. I had been recording short videos of the journey so far, the combined amateur video is embedded below.

Heading back down and hi5 to the Peak Crew

The hike down was grueling, I was wet, cold and my body felt like a centenarian’s instead of somebody in their 20’s! It was slow, it was long and it was punctuated with laughter as I had Mrs Jamaipanese as company again and lets just say our conversations got ultra wacky as our motivational songs included a popular one by Elmo of Sesame Street fame, we also made many failed attempts to get decent shots of hummingbirds. Just after 11am we were back at Wildflower Lodge, I somersaulted out of my wet clothes into dryer ones and ate the most satisfying breakfast I had in years. A two hour nap followed at then another Landrover-powered roller-coaster ride back to civilization. Shout-outs to my fellow hikers I like to call the “Peak Crew” – Joel, Gio, Marsha, Princeton, Jannelle, Kerry and Super Jim. We did well guys! Special thanks to Rose and the others from Wildflower Lodge who took care of us! Group shot by Super Jim below. To those in the group shot who didn’t hike to the peak, I’m still thinking of some sort of prank to play on you guys so I can have my revenge.

[jamaica]

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