I’m literally sitting in my Airbnb with legs so numb I can barely walk. I’m honestly in shock that I just wrapped up a 4 hour, 6 plus mile hike including multiple inclines so steep that I may as well have been climbing walls.
The worse part is, I did it all in a pair of leopard, cloth, ballet slippers.
I have to be honest with you at this point and tell you that as organized and detailed as I am, there are times that I just wing it. I opt not to do a great deal of research, and I just go. For the most part this is to leave an element of surprise, but sometimes it’s because I’m so busy that I research and plan those things that I know I really need to, and I leave other things to chance.
This was a situation that I regretted that I didn’t better prepare myself for. I thought that this was a National Park that I could dip my toe into and enjoy bits and pieces of, at my leisure. I figured that I’d go view whatever I wanted to view quite easily, and if I didn’t feel like seeing everything, I could opt not to.
Boy, was I wrong. This place is a full loop that you must go completely around and there is no half assing it.
At the expense of people thinking that I’m being melodramatic, I’m going to admit that the 4 hours yielded me epiphany after epiphany about life, and I left there comparing the entire journey to life itself.
I’ve decided that there are enough blogs out there about Horton Plains that explain all of the details.
I want to tell you guys all of the “profound” thoughts I had as I walked this huge loop in solitude for a little over 4 hours.
If you stick with me, you will also discover why it took me so long.
So let’s start from the top. I allowed my guesthouse host to arrange transportation for me that ended up costing me about 4,000 rupee, which equals $26 US Dollars. This was a steep price for an attraction, but I figured it would be worth it as he would take me to this wonderful attraction, drive me all around and then take me to the city afterward.
After taking a very long journey up a steep and winding hill, the driver asked me for another 4,000 rupee plus, for the entry fee.
WTF?! Entry FEE! To get into the park?! I had no idea. I didn’t have 4,000 rupee on me.
A million thoughts ran through my mind. Will I have to go all the way back down the hill to find an ATM? Will I have him just take me to the city? Maybe I need to figure out something else that I could do in Nuwara Eliya….
Then I realized that this was THE World’s End, and that I’d already done pretty much everything else there was to do in town. I also thought that it would be a total waste of the money spent on the van, so I couldn’t leave now.
My van driver loaned me 5,000 rupee, and I was off to reluctantly pay my admission.
I immediately noticed that everyone was wearing very comfortable and casual clothing and sneakers. I’d worn a linen shirt with a fashion necklace, along with a pair of boyfriend jeans and the cloth, leopard ballet flats that I’d mentioned earlier.
While I felt like I wasn’t dressed properly, I was so grateful that I hadn’t worn the dress and sandals I’d originally planned to wear.
The only reason I changed my mind is the fact that the weather had been so cool the day before. In hindsight, I also realize that my Angels made sure I didn’t go with my original plan.
I had also come extremely close to bringing my tripod so that I could take some awesome photos along the way. This was another reason I felt gratitude. I was already in trouble with the heavy backpack that I’d brought along, had I brought my tripod I may have been out there for 5 hours instead of 4, just due to trying to navigate the steep hills.
I can’t even imagine how miserable I would have been out there in a dress with sandals, carrying a heavy backpack and a tripod. I also wonder if perhaps someone, anyone would have advised me not to go.
No one advised me that my shoes were all wrong, or that I couldn’t pick and choose attractions or dip in and out. I articulated this desire to both my guesthouse host and my driver and now that I think about it, t I believe that the language barrier was a huge part of me not realizing that they were in fact trying to explain and perhaps even tried to politely hint, that I was at a disadvantage in regard to my attire when it came to this experience.
So as I enter the gates and pay the 4,000 plus rupee, I think to myself WTF? I view this as the birthing place, Babies go through an incubation process which I compare to the steep winding road we drove up, and then they are delivered. When they arrive they see a bright light that’s shocking and they are sometimes spanked on the bottom. Can’t you imagine they think WTF?
Then came the stares and judgement. This reminds me of being born underprivileged or perhaps with a handicap.
People were fixated on my shoes and the fact that I was alone, but moreso my shoes. One of the employees gave me a weird look as he asked me if I was alone. I told him yes and his response was, “be careful.”.
Then I felt like I was in the toddler stage of life as people began to sorta push me in the right direction, and I had to just go along with the crowd. I had no clue what I was doing or where I was going, so I had no choice but to sort of go with the flow and do as I was told.
I began to walk, completely oblivious, yet curious I carried on. I soon reached a fork in the road. I’m usually one to take the path less traveled, but something told me that I should follow the crowd under these circumstances, so I did.
I was in awe of the beauty that surrounded me. I was more present than ever before, allowing myself to notice things that I typically wouldn’t.
About an hour in, I realized that this wasn’t a situation where I could dibble and dabble. This was all or nothing. I honestly thought that I could go in for half an hour, hop over to see an attraction and rush back to the van if I chose to.
I soon found myself a bit disappointed in myself for not doing more research, but in true “Tali” nature, I was determined to make the most of it.
There were moments that I was in close quarters with others, sometimes I was glad that they were there, and other times I welcomed the peace and quiet.
There were times that things got tough, and you could feel the stares from people who wondered why I was there dressed inappropriately.
I realized that while I noticed it, I didn’t care. Not about their opinions anyway, and again I was reminded of life. We judge people based on what we see, we don’t know the background or the why, we just judge, we all do it.
Then there were the few other people out there with the wrong shoes. One lady had on a hard pair of slippers with jewels all over them and a small heel. Yikes! Thankfully she had someone with her that was helping her to get beyond the tough parts.
What I found interesting were the unspoken conversations that we had with each other, there was just a knowing of “Yea, I wore the wrong shoes too”. There was also something comforting about knowing I wasn’t alone in my ignorance.
Around the three hour mark, things got really difficult, and I wondered if it was just me, but everyone around me was out of breath, taking breaks and cursing.
This is when I found several people offering to help with large inclines, and at one point I accepted a hand.
Just before getting to Baker’s Falls, a group of us realized that we needed to go down a long flight of stairs to reach it, which meant we’d have to come back up. We were not happy. I contemplated skipping it all together.
A gentleman near the steps said,
“It’s not hard, just go…it will be worth it.”
This push along with thinking that I’d come too far, gave me the motivation to go for it. I remember being half way down the flight and laughing with others about how the guy said it wasn’t hard.
This was a complete lie, that trek down and back up, was HELL! Lol
While I love to be a happy and positive blogger, the falls were not that great. It certainly lacked luster in my opinion, but I’m glad that I did it. I can say that I was there.
Prior to this, I’d passed through and set my eyes on the famous World’s End. This too reminded me of life. I was surrounded by people that had “arrived”. We had arrived, and we needed the World to know it by any means necessary.
People scrambled for epic photos, and in my opinion risked their lives for them.
I know, I know, people take photos on ledges all the time and people don’t see it as severe as risking their lives, but living on the edge is risky.
It’s fun and it can be rewarding, but it poses risks. That’s what makes it so intriguing. Because these people had the guts to go to the very edge of this terrifying cliff, they have epic pics to show for it, and memories that everyone won’t have.
I for one, could only get so close. My comfort zone would allow me to go so far. Therefore I am without the truly EPIC photo but I’ll take what I got.
This is indicative of my personality. I’ve always pushed the bar, but within reason. I’d party hard in college and I mean hard, but not so hard that I didn’t make it class.
I had my share of relationships when younger, and had a great time, but always knew in the back of mind that I couldn’t be so fancy and free, that I’d make decisions within said relationships that would alter my life permanently.
I puzzled people, I appeared laid back and approachable, it looked like I was playing the game full throttle, but I always protected myself. I never went “too far”.
One of my favorite sayings in life has always been, “My elevator doesn’t go to the bottom.”
I don’t say any of this in judgement. Some people can push it further than others without consequences. It’s about listening to, and being in tune with your own internal compass.
I’m not one to be convinced by another to go sit on the ledge because they were able to pull it off.
I know within what I’m capable of, and that’s how I manage my life.
This caused me to think.
How far are we willing to go to achieve our dreams?
How much are we willing to risk?
Are you in tune with your own internal compass?
Are you comfortable with pushing yourself to the limit in order to achieve your goals?
This was my first real hike, in shoes without any grip. In fact, by the time I was at the end of the journey, not only was I struggling to move and get finished, I had to manage keeping the shoes on my feet. I’d stretched them so badly, the soles were beginning to break and they were flopping on and off.
This disadvantage alone, decreased my confidence in being able to handle standing on the edge.At one point, I thought to myself, Damn, I want this to be over. I want to sit here and quit. Click To Tweet
I was tired, I was thirsty, I was hot and there were times that I felt lonely. I felt hoodwinked and bamboozled. I was angry with myself for not being better prepared.
It dawned on me that despite my internal battle, I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t even really slow down. I mean I could, but night would soon begin to fall, and I damn sure didn’t want to be caught out there during the night.
This reminded me of growing older. Slowing down, resting, procrastinating and giving up, can cause you to look up and realize that it’s dark.
What the hell would I do if night were to fall?
I couldn’t imagine it, so I pressed on harder and quicker. I had to get out while I could. No way could I quit. No way could I die there. No way.
Sure, I had on the wrong shoes, so I had to go a little slower, and the rocks hurt the bottom of my feet, but the end goal was obtainable, and no one would be coming along to carry me out on their shoulder. I had to figure out how get there all on my own, come hell or high water, I had to see the end.
Finally, there came a point where the end was near. At this point people became a lot friendlier and less judgemental. There was a feeling of good morale, camaraderie and celebration.
I began to see people that were once way ahead of me and some that were once way behind me and again another epiphany. How many times do we compare our paths to the paths of others, believing that we are moving too slow and that they are so much further ahead of us? Other times we may find ourselves feeling boastful, because we are so much further ahead of others, but at the end of the day the end result places us all at the same place and ultimately at the same time, as time is simply an illusion.
Many began to make comments about how we made it. People’s perceptions suddenly shifted from judgement to almost cheering me on. More and more people began to offer to help me, they were thrilled to see me get to the finish line with all of my disadvantages.
They knew, how hard the hike was with the right shoes, carrying less weight and having consistent support from others. They knew that the journey must have kicked my ass. I could see the admiration in some of their eyes.
It wasn’t until I finished that I felt as though I was “one of them”. I had to prove myself. I had to show these people what I was made of.
Not that this was my goal at all, but it was interesting to see the shift in people’s perception.
Now that it’s all said and done, I realize that had I known the hike would last a little over 4 hours, I couldn’t dibble and dabble, in and out and that it would cost me about $60 USD, I wouldn’t have done it, but I was glad to get so many lessons and reminders out of it.
I believe that the messages were important when it comes to where I am in my personal journey.
Anytime the Earth wants to send me a message, I’m willing to make sacrifices to hear it.
Just knowing that I’m on the right path, and that I’m sensitive to spirit and the guidance she offers, is wonderful.
Having done something challenging that I’ve never done before is priceless, so whether you are an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, a thrill seeker or on a spiritual path, I believe that Horton Plains has something for you.
I’d just advise you to please wear the right shoes, know what you are getting yourself into and travel light.
Have you been to Horton Plain? Did you Enjoy it? Was it worth the money you paid?
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