Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 2.

Today our original plan was to wake up and leave by 9:30, but instead we woke up at 10:00 and left by 11:00.  We went straight to the train station and jumped on a train that took us to the most northern mountain, Monterosso, so that we could hike back down the coast.  We had a cup of coffee and set our, not knowing, on the hardest hike we've yet trekked.

The trail was so narrow there was no room to pass nor to make a faulty step.  There was the mountain always to our left and to our right was a drop off of vegetation, cliffs, and the ocean in the background.  Poor Elizabeth is terrified of heights.  

At one point, we couldn't complete the entire staircase so we rested right in the middle of it.  This group of 3 passed us looking in their mid life age.  

We caught up to them at the top of the stair case where they found their resting place.  This is where we got an introduction.  Debbie and Todd, married, and Gorgine all in their mid-fifties.  They were hiking the trail as if they were marathon runners, which they weren't, just in shape. They became our hiking buddies as we continued on this trail.  I mentioned to Kate that I wish I had eaten before we had left, but I didn't..Debbie over heard me and insisted on me taking one of her bananas and an apricot. She was so sweet, and I couldn't have thanked her enough. 

Then on top of that generosity, we were just about to complete the mountain trail, and they wanted to buy us lunch. So they did. We walked up these steps to one of the nicest remote restaurants where you could see the mountain, bay, boats, people, and dock on one side, and on the other the broad ocean.  Our meal was heavenly due to our frugal eating and our hunger after a hard hike.  I mean...for real...after that grueling hike this meal was the best feeling in the world and it didn't cost us a penny. I kept insisting to pay for my own meal, but Debbie said, "honey, I'm fifty-four, can you think of a better way to spend my money at my age?" I smiled and promised to pay it forward one of these days.

We hugged and exchanged emails etc...just in case we ever go up to Wisconsin we would have someone to stay with.  We spent the next 4 hours laying lazily on the dock watching little kids jump in the water, climb out, and jump in again.

We walked back into the town of Vernazza and up to the train station.  It was 7:00 and Elizabeth's chacos were not being nice giving her painful blisters on her heals; therefore, she decided to take the train back to our hostel.  Somehow, I talked Kate into hiking all the way back with me.  We went down back into town and we had to wait 20 minutes for what was said to have the best coffee in town to open up.  After coffee it was around 7:40, and we decided to walked the remaining mountains all the way back to our hostel.  

When we got to Cornilgia, I got some icecream while Kate ate her twix, and we were ready for the next mountain.  From there the hike was a peice of cake compared to the first hike we had that day regardless of our shaky legs.  Plus, I think we got a second wind, and it was all familiar because we had hiked it the day before.  

The only trail that came even close to as hard as the first one, come to think of it, was the first part of the trail leaving Vernazza going to Cornilgia.  But the feeling of hiking all five mountains was one of the greatest achievements. WE DID IT!

I had such an adrenaline rush when we finished in the dark I sat my stuff next to Kate on a bench and ran, yes I ran, up a hill all the way to the top and came back down. 

I think I'm going to train for a half marathon. yea..

1 comment:

Cherl said...

You are completely amazing! Does my heart good to think you are going to possibly consider adventures in the states (Wisconsin anyone?) I so admire your traveling ambitions and the sacrifices you make so that you can fulfill them. What a great response to your kind benefactor to "pay it forward" :-) I love you!!