Fighting through the fear of accidentally slipping and falling backwards (yes this crossed my mind many times) I reached the top of Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius on Wednesday 31st August 2022.
Looking up at the mountain before the start I asked for permission to be on the mountain and then I set out.
At the top the views were breath taking, every shade of blue that you could ever think or dream of. A view which 5 minutes earlier from seeing I almost didn’t make it, yes that’s right I had hiked 418m up and with 2m to go I froze – I couldn’t move I was petrified, but somehow I persevered and pushed though it all and reached the top.
5 hours and 6km later I made it up to the top and back to the bottom of the mountain safely. It was a great experience and on reflection climbing the mountain taught me five very valuable lessons:
1. Your mind is the greatest tool you have, you can change it to fit exactly what you need. The terrain of the mountain was difficult, think rock climbing but without the harness and the ropes or any safety equipment so naturally I was scared. I said to myself many times “I can’t” but as soon as I changed it to “I can” it was like I was a new person.
2. Don’t tell anyone your plans or next move until it’s done. I had shared with two members in my family that I would be going on this hike on this mountain. We agreed we would go all together, but then they changed their mind and didn’t want me to go with them – they went together. I went alone. Guard your next move and don’t let anyone know what you are doing – including people you think you can trust in your family.
3. Help is always there, just ask. As a lone hiker (I know I was in a group, but I didn’t know anyone or have anyone to spot me) it was difficult at times seeing others have their hands held and supported. On the way down it was difficult and so I asked for help and there were hands to help me down and a stranger who held my rucksack. I am really grateful to anyone who helped me – thank you. In life it’s ok to ask for help – it’s always there – just ask.
4. The only thing stopping you is you. Anything is possible and anything can happen, just take a chance on yourself and do whatever you want to do. You only get each day once – make it count.
5. “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” Sir Edmund Hillary. Often the task in front of us has nothing to do with what we are actually trying to achieve for ourselves. Every experience that comes into our lives teaches us something about ourselves and leads the way to the next experience.
Le Morne has historical significance and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site because it is known as being a safe haven for those escaping slavery in the early 19th Century. Some people plunged to their deaths from the top of the mountain to escape slavery. There is a large metal cross at the top of the mountain in remembrance of all the people that felt they had no choice but to take their lives to escape slavery.