After joining the Inspiration Outdoors back office team earlier this year, part of my “on boarding process” was to participate in one of the tours, and walk the Cape to Cape.
Wow, what an adventure! Okay, now I am panicking!
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to an 8 day hike. 8 days! 8 days of nature! 8 days in a gorgeous area of Western Australia! 8 days to walk from 1 lighthouse to another! 8 days to walk the distance that usually takes 1.5 hours to drive! 8 days to walk 135kms! 8 days! The thought of it made me smile; my adventure hat was on but, just as easily, I panicked. Panic? Why?
Was I fit enough to do this? What if I were slow? Would I hold the group up? The more I thought about it, the more questions started to funnel and pool. I have often heard people say, “You can never be prepared for the best things in life.” With all that jumbling through my mind, I decided to embrace the experience. What would this walk throw at me that I have not already dealt with before?
Renewed with determination and commitment, I met the guides and my fellow walkers on the first day. I could see that everyone was feeling just as nervous but happy at the same time. I guess there is doubt even for those who had time to train and prepare. For myself, I knew that walking 20kms would not be an issue – I have walked that and more before. What did scare me was walking that distance consecutively for 7 days. I revisited this fear that evening as we prepared for dinner. The long durations of rest made it apparent that my body was in repair mode. My legs felt like they were made of lead and my body complained every time I decided to move. Will I be able to walk tomorrow?
Day 2. I woke earlier than necessary even though my body complained and took the extra time to stretch. Despite questioning my fitness and ability the night before, I decided that I would feel much worse with regret if I gave up. After walking just 25m on the track, the uncertainty ebbed and as I had experienced the day before, the magical beauty of the coast made me forget about it all. That night, I moved with less difficulty and my fellow walkers shared quite a few laughs as we recounted the day. The doubt has shifted and we were definitely more confident in our abilities and ourselves.
With the coming days, this resolve only grew and our little group became closer as we shared the journey. I felt secure; I trusted myself and understood that my body is much more resilient than I gave it credit for. By pushing myself to what I thought was my limit, I quickly learned that I suddenly had a new limit. Was I fit enough to do this? Yes and no. What if I were slow? I was slow. There were days where I was last and there were days where I was at the front of the pack. Beach walking is not my forte and I weirdly love going up stairs and steep hills even if it means that I’m huffing and puffing by the end of it – to me, the view at the top was worth it. What if I held up the group? This question makes me laugh because I felt like everyone had this fear but secretly, everyone wanted someone to hold up the group so that they could catch their breath; take in the scenery; rest; drink water; have a snack; take pictures; adjust their boots…the reasons were endless.
The internal hysteria that I battered myself with pre-trip quickly evolved in the span of 8 days to a greater love for hiking and the outdoors – one that I had shelved due to a myriad of excuses; an addiction to strive for new challenges; and an awe for both my mind and body to be able to achieve things I told myself was not possible. I look forward to finding new ways in pushing myself to do things that may make me uncomfortable but will garner deeper introspection and growth – both mentally and physically. This, is what walking the Cape to Cape track did for me.