Climbing Diamond Hill

Climbing Diamond Hill

In the distance is Diamond Hill…not far from the beginning of the trail.

It began as a cloudy day with 9 degrees celsius temperature. By the time I walked a bit I stowed the rain jacket in my pack and was enjoying the warmer day and beautiful scenery of Connemara National Park in County Galway, Ireland.

Nice boardwalks across the mountain bogs

My friend turned back after a while so I headed beyond the blue trail to the red trail, ready to challenge myself with a climb up and across the ridge and down the other side. The conditions were perfect.

Sweat rolled down my back as the incline increased. The trail started at near sea level and went to 442 meters…that’s 1450 feet…with a series of switchbacks. It was no trail for the faint of heart.

Crossing mountain bogs, streams, and occasional lesser inclines, I made my way upward stopping to photograph and video when I needed to catch my breath.

The clouds increased and began to roll toward the mountain. By the time I was near the top, the temperature had dropped significantly and the wind was so wild I had to remove my hat or lose it.

I stopped to put on my rain jacket and get out the rain cover for the camera. The steps going upward began to get wet and the ground around them was very soft and squishy. I walked on because I thought I must be near the top and wanted to reach it.

Thought I was at the top….thus the happy face!

Finally I got to what I thought was the highest point and even did a little video proclaiming happily, “I made it!” How could there possibly be a trail on the dome of that mountain?

Thinking I would be headed down, I continued on…and yes, climbed more steps and more steps….and more….what? Meanwhile the wind was ripping at my jacket and anything not tied down to me as the dark cloud got closer. Memories of the snow clouds rolling over the mountain about 15 kilometers away a couple days ago made me rethink my decision to walk further up.

Are you FREAKING kidding me? The top of my finger is where I found myself when I decided to turn around

Finally, I saw a trail sign in the distance. Okay….I would be able to see exactly where I was and that would give much-need information.

But NO! I still had a LONG way to climb…probably another 300 feet and a walk across the ridge. NO FREAKING WAY!

No way was I crossing the ridge in that wind!

The wind was too strong and dangerous for this gal to finish the climb across Diamond Hill. And the cold was no little factor. Time to turn around came with clear awareness. Mists and fog can roll in and in a white-out you can’t see and that’s just not a good thing in a landscape such as this. There are warning signs everywhere saying not to climb in fog, rain, and other weather events. Nothing said what to do if that all suddenly arrives when you are near the top.

But I knew what to do. As difficult as it was to not finish the challenge, I knew without one doubt it was the right thing to do. And making the decision gave me peace of mind.

As I descended down the steep trail, I looked back often and couldn’t believe I had made it as far as I did. It was an accomplishment I’m very happy about, even though I didn’t make it across the ridge.

Sometimes the greatest challenge is knowing when to let go of a goal, a dream, a person, a direction. Today I learned to celebrate my decision to take excellent care of myself in every aspect of my life.

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