These pictures were taken on my trip into the Drakensberg which is a range of mountains inland of South Africa’s coast. It was going to be a two night trip with my youth group. I had been excited for this weekend, but what with the promise of freezing nights, people I didn’t know all too well, and a startling 5:30am wakeup call, I became a bit disenchanted with the notion.
It was just one of those things where you know it’ll be great and you try to convince yourself you’re fussing over nothing, but there’s a little nagging voice in the back of your head telling you to stay home, that it’s not worth it. I shared these feelings with a friend who felt mutually, and we kind of looked at each other and asked, why should we go? But we pep-talked each other and managed to convince ourselves that once we got past the 3 1/2hr drive, we would be glad we pushed ourselves to do it.
Were we wrong? Yes. Am I sorry I went? Kind of. Would I tell myself to stay home from similar events in the future? Absolutely not. Pushing yourself is the only way you learn to discover new things, meet new people, try out new places. Without pushing yourself, life becomes boring and predictable. I’m mainly annoyed because I managed to sprain my ankle, making me have to get driven home the day after we arrived. In my opinion, not exactly worth it.
While I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of doing a 5hr hike after a 3 1/2hr road trip, I put on a good face and laughed with the others, convinced that the people around me would help to lift my spirits. Sometimes, that’s all it takes; with a good face and determination, you’ve pretty much got a good time in the making.
The berg is beautiful this time of year or any time of year for that matter. While the evenings are undoubtedly cold, the days are pleasantly warm in the sun and the mountains were magnificent. Hiking seemed like a small price to pay for these views.
While the mountains were spectacular, every once in a while, a different perspective is welcome. Why does a party have to be loud? Why does a prayer have to be quiet?
On the way down the mountain, low and behold, I step into a pothole on the side of the trail and stumble. I can safely say that that hurt. Don’t ask me how I managed to keep myself from landing on my camera, because the truth is I have no idea, but what I knew for certain was that I had just sprained my ankle… a month before a ballet exam… and I had no way of hiking the rest of the way back. Luckily I had friends around me who helped. I got a piggyback ride all the way back to camp; some may think it was relaxing, but I was trying not to be too much of a burden on the poor guy who was tasked with maneuvering the mountainous terrain with me on his back.
What with the swelling and bruising around my ankle, it was safe to say I was out of commission for the weekend. With my only chance of getting home leaving at 5am the next morning, it made for the 3rd sunrise I’d seen that week. The first was Sunday over a golf course with good friends, the second was driving up on Friday (remember the 5:30am wakeup call?), and finally, driving home on Saturday with a swollen ankle that wouldn’t hold my weight… each event getting progressively worse and worse, but each sunrise as beautiful as the one before, just from different perspectives.
And now I am sitting on my bed after an intense physio session with my ankle taped and balancing on a stack of pillows writing this blog post and thinking that if having a sprained ankle wasn’t such an inconvenience, I still would have woken up that early, endured the drive, and gone on the hike, just for the experience of being around the people, seeing the mountains, and feeling the exertion. All that said, it still wasn’t an enjoyable experience, but it’s the unenjoyable experiences that shape us as people and the way we find our way through the challenges presented defines us in our personalities.
Life is about pushing through, overcoming, and laughing about it afterward. You know what? I’m up, I’m walking, although my ankle still hurts I know that my body is incredible enough to heal itself and that makes me happy.
If nothing else I got a new facebook profile/cover photo and some cool Instagram posts… that’s all that matters right?