Lions Head

     The rises roughly around 5:45am every morning.  Relentlessly Mama Africa wakes me up as the sun pours in to my Airbnb flat.  Today was the day I decided to hike up Lion's Head Mountain.

     The peak of Lion Head is 699 meters up.  Full of twists, turns, dips, rocks, various wildlife and caves I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.  I started my journey exuberant, ready to tackle it head on, take a few selfies and then move on to the next thang.  Perhaps brunch or a smoothie.  About 30 minutes in I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.  My sinuses were burning and the morning sun was getting hotter by the minute.  What I thought would be a piece of cake became a "real" challenge.  There were times when going up the mountain the two person trail became a one person trail.  The seperation from falling and safety became less clear.  As the air became cooler the climb became stepper.  Those who passed me had stopped on large boulders to take pictures or enjoy the view.  I kept pressing forward wondering how much further.  A few more experienced hikers ran past me. "Well good for them" I thought.  Closer to the top I ran into two Americans.  More experienced dressed in full hiking gear.  They were on their way down already.  Minutes after saying goodbye to them a boy was being helped down the mountain by two men.  He was in tears, his leg bruised.  It appeared he had sprained his ankle.  He couldn't have been more than 9.  His mother followed helplessly behind.  And still I pressed forward.  After an hour of scaling rocks, and tree roots.  Inching along and carefully navigating those 699 meters all I could think was that the journey was all worth it.  I made it.  I had accomplished my goal.  And the reward was well worth it.

     On this journey there will be moments when you second guess what you're doing.  Going up Lion's Head I had to watch my path, my footing.  Sometimes I had to stop and make sure I was taking the right step.   At one point there was a sign post that pointed in a direction that said "take at your own risk".  I started to take it and then changed my mind.  I met people along the way, but I didn't let anything distract me from my goal.  

     This year, the month, this day and everyday afterward no matter where your journey takes you keep your eye on your path.  Don't allow distractions to hinder you.  And most of all don't worry about those have stopped along the way or who is sprinting past you.  If you keep moving forward the reward will be worth it.

Nathaniel J. Ryan