Ohene Kwaku Bonsu (Joy Family Lodge) from GHANA writes:
For a 55 year-old man to climb Mount Afadjato, a 2905 feet high, from 2pm in the afternoon was a great challenge but on Sunday,August 26 my family climbed to the mountain top after nearly 2 hours. My 2 children, aged 20 (Kwabena) and daughter, Yaa Boatemaa, 16 made it. My wife retreated after acknowledging her limit, and I made it.
How did I make it? I had not gone through an active physical training regime even though I do my treadmill jogging about 3x weekly. I did not carry with me any hiking equipment, but my family had been dreaming for nearly one year that we should attempt climbing the mount to the top and so come August 26, we started the climb at exactly 2.07pm. Though warm, it wasn't very sunny and hot.
What got me to the top? I found strength in my weaknesses.......
I was told at the base camp that it was going to take about 45-60 minutes to climb to the top. Hardly, do you receive any information about the climbing experience. I did the first 200 feet with so much enthusiasm I didn't experience any fatigue but after about 250 feet, I sat down on the edge of a rock, panting so hard I wondered if I should continue. (Remember, its about 250 feet vertical, not horizontal, flat land). I accepted the limitations of my age and physical condition and decided to continue but to rest any time I felt tired. I made more than 18 stops on the way, and rested. Is that how age catches up with you? I lost count after 18. Looking back, I think the several times I took to rest (perhaps, unusual) were so significant as to have given me enough energy and motivation to continue.
The other technique used was crawling. There were many areas that were so steep, looking at such vertical height made me shudder inside. Huh!!! I can't even dream I'll go back to climb the steepness again!!!! But I was so determined to go to the top, I decided to crawl my way through, and it was extremely helpful. I held on to any stump, tree, rock, earth, that I could lay my hands on to keep me from falling. There were times I gave up. (Never give up?) My knees would wobble. My legs felt weak. I would pant as if my heart was leaping out of my mouth, and I would pray silently for strength. Several fears came running through my mind. The fear of rolling down like I've seen in films. The fear of dropping down when I hear my heart beating to a pulp. How did I overcome such fears? The technique of affirmation and visualization (seeing myself at the top) helped a lot, but I also prayed several times to help me move on. What surprised me was that any time I felt I was going to give up, after the rest, I didn't move down. I continued the climb, without thinking. Finally, about 200 feet to the top, I took a long rest. A young girl came along with a walking stick. She walked on the steep slope as if she was walking on her compound in the village down below. That's what I saw the villagers do as some of them easily passed by me. I took the stick and walked quite easily my way up to the top. It was the easiest stretch I had walked on since I started the climb. What stretch of beauty and magnificence and greenery? The rolling hills of trees compounded, lay so silently below...What mattered was the calmness and peace....
What does all this tell you or me? I managed to use my weaknesses as props for strength and I did it in my own unique way: sheer perseverance and determination,adequate stops and rests, crawling, and prayers. In all, I used 3 hours instead of the normal, 90 minutes. Does it really matter, the time?