We’re Laura and Jo, two very good friends of opposing personalities… Jo is optimistic, typical cheesy pop, squeaky clean character. Laura, uh, is more, shall we say, glass half empty, habitual quitter but headstrong and able.
We’re really excited to share our adventures, tales of excitement and woe with sprinklings of success as we undertake possibly the most ridiculous challenges of our lives.
We’ve always been into hiking adventures... reading about them that is - various blogs, articles and books about hiking in the great outdoors, but, we had never taken one ourselves because, like many, we were just generally a bit scared. And nowhere near fit enough to do something like that. And WHAT if we failed?
And then, the favourite – HOW would we be able to tell people when inevitably just decided to give up? These all sound familiar, right?
"Lofty goals, soured with every
doubt we had"
Well, this all changed for us around a year ago, when we met up for drinks and a catch up. Oh, how little did we know how this ‘catch up’ would impact the rest of our year. Our conversation snowballed into a discussion about all of our dreamy countryside, mountain lofty goals, soured with every doubt we had, the usual weighing up of our options, and eventually agreeing it was probably wise to just stay at home.
That was, of course, until a few too many ales took us by surprise, u-turning on our fail safe stay at home plan, we somehow committed to the absolutely brilliant idea of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – a 200mile, 14 day trek from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay!
We'd like to say we stopped there, but alas several more beverages later, we surmised the trek itself wasn’t difficult enough for two untrained girls with minimal outdoor experience, and decided we would carry all of our kit on our backs for the duration. Ouch, we woke with one hell of a headache.
"To us, it was a huge looming mountain
to climb, speaking of which, we had
But we’d done it, we’d admitted what we wanted to ourselves and to avoid any backtracking, we booked the time off work straight away, setting our plans in place and guilt trapping us both into solid commitment - lest to say, one of us was more wriggly here than the other…
The next few weeks were a jumble of panicked phone calls and texts all to the tune of “how will we ever be able to manage this?”. We also realised that to some people it wouldn’t seem overly difficult, but to us, it was a huge looming mountain to climb, speaking of which, we had never done.
So, here we are with our first tale of training, which will no doubt continue to suggest, we loop ourselves into ridiculous things.
The story of our first step in training was originally outlined as a low key hike up Snowdon, Snowdonia, North Wales, it turned into us joining an experienced mountaineering group on one of the more challenging scrambles up a mountain called Tryfan – a place which has towering pinnacles and menacing exposed drops.
"We were sleep deprived, and nerves
were at an absolute peak."
This climb took place after a terrible night in a tent, waking to freezing cold howling winds and rain. We were sleep deprived, and nerves were at an absolute peak. We were conscious of holding the more experienced group back, making them stop for rest breaks every 5 minutes.
Turns out, our fears were completely unfounded. The hiking community is a kind and welcoming one, always happy to offer advice and encouragement to those of all abilities. You get the impression that they are just genuinely happy to see someone else making the effort to get outside and experience the places that they love so much.
"Turns out, our fears were completely
One lesson we quickly learned, no matter where you are on a mountain, if you ask ‘how much further?’, you will always get the same response –
“You’re almost there!"
For hours we scrambled over that terrain, and honestly we’re not entirely sure how we did, but the summit was in sight and we were excited. We won’t lie, it was tough. Our arms and legs were burning, and Jo was battling another hurdle - her fear of heights and exposed climbing. We were powering through, at times, separately, Laura made friends and quite frankly was over the idea of waiting - guys, this happens, and as much as we’re doing this together, we’re also not! Ha! We discovered our own ways of working with ourselves, and that was together some of the way but not for all of it.
"We’re talking tears, snot, heart palpitations,
and an awful lot of swearing."
Just as we thought the hardest parts were over, we approached an incredibly exposed section; large drops either side and not a hand hold in sight. Laura, with her new found confidence and newly acquired friends to impress, negotiated the tricky terrain and reached the summit (highfive!). Jo, on the other hand, at seeing a fear all too real was overcome by a full blown panic attack; we’re talking tears, snot, heart palpitations, and an awful lot of swearing.
But, as we all know, the journey we’re on in ourselves is the most important part of any challenge, and for the next hour or so on the descent, Jo pushed through her fears (with a few more tears) and completed Tryfan.
For the both of us, inexperienced and unfit, Tryfan was our biggest achievement to date. Not only had we completed our first mountain together (and a scary one at that!), we had learned that we could support each other through our nerves and finish a challenge. And for Laura, the perennial quitter, this was huge.
"It was a success"
Although only the first stage of our training, with still a long way still left to go, Tryfan gave us the confidence and the belief that maybe, just maybe, we would be able to walk across the country in a few months.
Naturally, we undertook Snowdon the following day (yes, really) but that is a whole other story in itself. All you need to know is, it was a success…..just.
So, what do we have to share from our first trip into the mountains?
No matter where you start from, just by taking that first step - you’re almost there.
Looking for your next adventure? In collaboration with No Boundaries, Get Out Girl is running the Women's Adventure Retreat on June 15th - 17th. For more information, booking & additional dates, click here.