Its long.. but worth it!
Here is a tip, whenever a blog starts with “Here is a funny story!” it sure is going to be interesting!
Soo.. Here is a funny story!
As we reached the top of Mount Catherine, we left the guide and the camel collecting firewood to prepare the campsite and our well-deserved meal and sleep! We climbed up those last few meters where the deserted chapel is. Before bolting up to the top, the guide pointed to where the campsite will be. Little did he know that on a mountaintop to the simple city slicker EVERYTHING looks the same! We were too exhausted and too excited to even listen to what he had to say. We had a goal, and our goal was to reach the top before the sun sets. Those last few meters are of man made rocky steps taking a semi circle or a curve up, talk about a total directional screw up. One side of the step was coming out of the mountain, and the other side is straight plummet down! It’s not really as dangerous as it sounds, but you have to imagine because this next part is the entertaining part. We have achieved our goal and managed to reach before the sunset. After a 3.5 hour hike, we stayed up there and took our sweet time! We took pictures, said stories, got dazzled by the out of this world scenery, and congratulated each other on making it. Here is what we didn’t have in mind! After any sunset.. IT GETS DARK!
Suddenly it hit us.. It was getting dark(er) really fast! There was no moon to even shed some light, which was alright because the view was stunning! One said “Ok guys bring out your torches”. A state of confusion suddenly set on us, it was as if we started talking in a different language. Torches? We need those in a camp? Luckily we had 1.5 torches, 1.5 because my torch’s batteries were dying out.
It is pitch black now and it’s getting colder. We couldn’t see anything except for shimmering light on the horizon which was another city kilometers away. Hani & I the lead our little convoy with our little lights. We held each other’s hands to make it safely down. I am sure you know that after any physically straining activity for a prolonged period of time, your muscles eventually give you the finger! And that’s what happened! But we couldn’t stop, we HAD to move on. Each step down was more frightening than the step before it, not to mention more painful. A very smart question was proposed by one of us.. “Where did he say the campsite was?” An awkward silence followed by hysterical laughter… No bearings what so ever! No sign of life! NOTHING WAS VISIBLE, except 2 light circles on the ground from our flashlights. The fire was not up yet, so we couldn’t even see that light (just in case you were wondering).
We shouted out for our guides. Not a second later a reply came back.. And another.. and another… It was our echo! It came back from every direction! We continued on our course downwards hoping to see any glimmering light of our guides. Another smart question popped out “Are you sure we are going in the right direction?”. Another wave of laughter swept over us! But we continued the course. One of us then said “Yeah I remember the guide pointing that direction” and he pointed to the same direction we were marching! Although no one said anything, but the thought “You better be right because I’m not going up this damn mountain again” was in all our heads.
Here is the funny thing about echoes.. They are a lot of fun in daylight. In darkness it is a whooole different terrifying story! We kept calling out for the guides, and our echoes would reply and we would then go into debate of whose voice was that. Another funny thing about echoes, they don’t sound the same! We still marched! We decided to have one person call out ONE thing and wait for replies.
A few minutes later, a faint different response came back. Yet another funny thing about echoes, they come from every direction, you can never tell where the original source is. We froze to the ground and held our breaths to try to figure out where it was coming from. Naturally we looked in every direction except one.. Backwards!
It was as if we were on que, we all looked shocked and at each other and looked back. And there it was, a tiny spec of waving light! Oh did I only say back, we also had to look up to see it! A third wave of laughter swept over the five of us. This one was different, we couldn’t stand up from the laughter. We couldn’t breathe because we were laughing so hard, and at that altitude you already had some trouble breathing just standing up. A lot of words were said that I won’t be at liberty to repeat, but of all the words, this was said the most. And was rightfully an A7a moment! (pronounced aha)
The laughter ended, and we expect the candid camera to come from ANYWHERE, coz we felt the joke was on us. We just stood there wondering what to do? We were so tired to move, let alone climb again! And that waving light was TINY! HOW FAR IS HE? We fruitlessly tried to convince them to come down to us, but that didn’t work. It was time to pucker up and start moving again! Moving up, we could not believe what had just happened. It was one of those events that a whole group consciously decides to forget it ever happened! I bet they didn’t think I would blog about it.
Every step was an agonizing curse, but we marched. That waving light wasn’t getting any bigger at all. It was really annoying. How far did we hike down? We couldn’t have possibly moved that fast. A few minutes have passed, and still that light hasn’t grown bigger, we weren’t getting closer. For a second I wondered if were actually moving at all. Suddenly, our guide clearly said “Welcome” and he was physically right there! How the hell did he come down so fast, or how did we get up there that fast. Turned out he used the LED bulb on his mobile which was tiny in the first place, and gave us the impression that he was far away! I mean honestly if he was standing right there, why didn’t he say anything!?
We arrived safely and finally to our campsite! Had a blast of a laugh and crashed under a sea of stars. We couldn’t believe what had happened. But, today, it makes a good story and a really long blog post :)