The greatest reward for a hiker, I guess, is reaching the goal. Finishing the trail, arriving at the peak after you sweated blood for hours.
One of these experiences was my hike from Black Sail Hut in Lake District to the top of Scafell Pike and back to the hut again. It’s just 21km there and back again but it’s got an elevation of 1670m. Being this my first self-organised hiking trip a underestimated the elevation a little. It was gruelling. We started 9 o’clock in the morning and walked through the Tongue Valley up to Windy Gap between Green Gable and Great Gable. I found Windy Gap really difficult to climb. Is a path full of gravel. You do 2 steps and roll one back. We descended from Windy Gap, started the ascent of Scafell Pike and arrived there around 2pm. I was completely exhausted. We were lucky (or unlucky) that day having full sunshine all day long. Not that I complain about nice weather, but I really, really wished for some clouds at least every now and then. It was extremely hot and I had to start rationing my water. It looked like my 2 litres wouldn’t be enough so I had to keep an eye on my water consumption.
Starting the descent after a 30-mins break, we had a very long way to go back. It felt like an eternity. Stone after stone, walking around corners and corners and still not even Windy Gap in sight. That was the first time during that trip that my enthusiasm for hiking faded away a little.
I had my low point when we needed to climb Windy Gap again to return to Black Sail Hut. I was so tired that I almost cried. I almost broke. The only thing that kept me going was my friend Christian who was walking in front of me. Seeing him pushing forward encouraged me to keep walking.
It felt like a victory reaching the top of Windy Gap again, knowing that what was coming was still a long stretch to walk, but no major climbs anymore. The rest would be a piece of cake.
The picture shows the ‘Tongue Valley’ with our accommodation, the Black Sail Hut, from Windy Gap. You barely can see the hut because it’s still far away. But the view was stunning. A reward in itself. And we knew that we would arrive in 2 hours, getting rid of our boots, have a 3-course meal and something to sit on.
Would I do it again? Would I torture myself in this way again? Hell, yeah, I would! It genuinely was the best hiking experience I’ve had so far. I needed not only to test my limits at the time, I wanted to exceed them. I wanted to break. I haven’t had such an experience since and still waiting to go back there.