Mountain climbing I did go...

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

Yes, I said mountain climbing. For those who know me well understand that my skills at walking on flat surfaces can be challenging at times so the thought of me mountain climbing may either make you cringe or just shake your head in utter disbelief. Well it happened thanks to my husband's childhood dream to summit a mountain he can see from the mount behind our home.

View from our mount this is Maja e Veleçikut, a peak in Albania, part of the Albanian Alps. It is 1,725 m high.

We searched online for a trail or track that would take us up and finally found one that should take around three hours each direction. So we started prepping for this adventure by hiking our hill behind the house regularly, long bike rides to the next town over and a short 5 hour hike to a bunker/castle ruin in our town. The short hike was a near fail because of poor planning on water supply so lesson learned but overall not too bad. Pictures below are from this short hike.

The 12 mile bike rides helped improve overall fitness but no major hills to challenge our upward momentum. And the path behind the house we have taken dozens of times and it helped but with all good plans and prep somethings are bound to go downhill eventually.

Our nephew was visiting from Michigan and decided to brave the climb with us so we picked a day when the weather was clear and mild, a warm high of 77 F by midday. We started our ascent at 9 am with plans to be down by 3ish. We started on the trail head found online and about ten minutes in found that the trail had red markers on various rocks as we went a long so that was amazing. We made it about to 4550 ft by 11 am with a few water breaks but overall still going well. About 40 minutes in we ran in to a guy going down that said there was a small group ahead of us by about 15 minutes so we caught up enough to keep them in our line of sight but lost them and the trail, the trail we had mapped indicated a right turn to go around the side we were facing then ascend further but we could see the top from this position. So my eager husband wanted to make a straight bee line for the top but at this point we had literally spent the last 20 minutes climbing the side of the mountain and my nephew and I were still catching our breath. I love my husband but he can be a bit of an overachiever if the task is close. So he convinced my nephew to go straight up with him and I to follow at a much slower crawl. They reached the summit about an hour and half later and I took a slightly different path to the right hoping to catch eye of the trail but only to crawl up via rock and long grass to a small summit two and half hours later.

This was his drone shot near the summit, too windy at the very top for the drone

The small group that we lost sight of came up the trail but did my husband ask about where said trail was, no because we make our own, famous last words from my husband. We knew my ability to descend was was going to be a challenge due to the shear side we crawled up and my handicap of ankle instability on flat ground so we sent my nephew ahead of us so he didn't have to keep with my slow pace. My attempt to walk down just behind my husband was short as my pace and his varied significantly. My best and less dangerous way down was crab walking or sliding on my tush. This was very time consuming and terribly humiliating to see my husband bound down the side only sliding a little but otherwise not phased. About 20 minutes in to my crab walk down the side I see the small group come casually walking down from the side we were suppose to originally take, frustrating to know that there was an easier way but I kept going. We did make it down and I only took one hard fall that included a sharp rock to the right kidney that did take my breath away. It was super challenging climbing down and we lost the trail a bit so it took a while to get back on track to get down. Overall the views were stunning, the climb was exhausting, lost one of two car keys, we just made it down before the sunset, and my husband has now banished me from all trails leading up. For me I was proud that I have added summit a mountain to my list of accomplishments.

Us at the top

He was happy!

So when you visit my husband can take to you on any trail while I will be at base camp with water and food on your return. Cheers to childhood dream realized.

P.S. Thanks Paige for the pant recommendations they held up well while sliding down the side of the mountain.

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