The day started out well. After a light breakfast of an omelette and coke (because you need the protein for a long hike, as well as that crazy burst of energy that coke gives you to get you started. Don't you agree, Coca-Cola company???) we were on the trail by 7:30 a.m., before the horses could even get up there. Not that that was even an option...my family is full of outdoorsy sort of people and there is no way I was taking the easy out. I never have, although there have been moments when I kind of wished I could (usually about halfway up, to be precise).
The ascent to the Tiger's Nest is gradual. No, really, it is! The trail consists of a LOT of switchbacks, but very few stairs, at least until you get to the very end. It's not until you come to a break in the trees and see how high you've come that you realize it. And THEN you'll see how far you still have to go, and you'll cry a little bit, if you're a wuss like me, anyways.
Still, the forest is lovely, and even though you are sweating buckets, the sun is not out, and there are lots of things to take photos of. And if you're lucky, your guide will be supportive. Mine was. Sree kept telling me how well I was doing and that she appreciated me. Maybe two-thirds of the way up, she wanted to know if she could ask my age. I told her I was nearly 34. "Oh, that explains your good walk. The driver and I were talking, and even though you are fat, you have a good walk." Oh. Um. Thanks? My size has been discussed and pointed out a LOT while I was traveling this summer, in spite of my effort and some success in getting it under control. Sree went on to explain that they agreed that my size suited me, that unlike some people, who are only fat in their faces or their stomachs, that I am fat all over, and I said that I was lucky to be tall, and that in spite of being fat, I am really healthy. She said that she could tell that by how I walk. All this would, I guess, serve to help me accept myself, which is also part of my current mission, but it's still a topic I'd just as soon not talk about. Guess I have a ways to go.
Still, I made it, and I think I am as proud of that hike as of just about anything I did on vacation.