Waking up hours before the sun to begin a dizzyingly steep climb up what’s known as “heartbreak hill” — as attempting this feat after sunrise is already considered dangerous due to desert temps and exposure — tends to become one of those mornings where I wonder: what am I doing? Why did I sign up for this? And on this day, more specifically I thought: oh God; heartbreak hill?! Am I strong enough to make it after only a taste of Corn Flakes at 3:30 a.m.?
As usual, all reservations are mentally lit on fire and taken away with the wind in the form of ash.
Because I wanted this;
I made this moment reality; and
I will succeed.
The adventure begins with a steep climb to the top of Kings Canyon as mentioned, heartbreak hill, where it is said that as you struggle to continue you can’t help but think of the person you want most walking by your side. Personally, all I could do was think “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” (whilst on land) as I huffed and puffed and would have blown a house down if one had been in the way.
But you can’t beat walking the rim of a canyon (or a volcano I might add!):
Half way along the walk is the “Garden of Eden,” an oasis of lush vegetation and waterholes. I find myself captivated by impressionistic reflections and tiny frogs:
After leaving this oasis, much like the Lion King (no lions in Australia, guys), I proudly stood at the top of what is called “Pride Rock” — a rite of passage for all those who conquered tough terrain and self-doubt to stand tall.
And finally, one last truly humbling canyon view from the top: