“At the first sign of rain come straight back down!” The hotel receptionist’s voice rang loudly in my head as I walked towards the foot of the mountain. I was keen to discover the source of the giant waterfall. Little more than an hour later I was out of breath and my legs were so tired I decided to take a short rest.
A short rest became a rather long pause while I took in the stunning view. I had climbed much higher than I had thought. To my right was a shear drop of several hundred meters where, on the other side of the gorge, the waterfall pounded its way down to the valley. To my left was the narrow rocky mountain path and the dark forest beyond.
Just then I noticed a small brown animal scurrying down the mountain but instead of carrying on, it veered off in my direction. I was amazed at just how fast the little mouse (for that’s what it turned out to be) could move. He came right up to me. I froze perfectly still and the little creature popped his front paws onto the toecap of my shoe and looked straight up at me. He stared right into my eyes. His nose and whiskers twitched nervously but his eyes were as still as still can be. It was then I heard it again, much closer this time, the thunder on the mountain. Earlier I had optimistically mistaken it for the waterfall.
All at once the tiny mouse dashed off under a rock and moments later the rain began to fall. Pitter patter at first and then rapidly rising into a deafening torrent. The wind was outrageous as I battled my way back down, rain was pouring through my shoes and my glasses steamed up so badly I soon had to remove them to see anything at all.
The hillside path was nowhere to be seen. Too frightened to try and find it, I made my way into the forest and traded upturned roots and mud for loose rocks and a shear drop. I swore to myself that if I ever make it back down to the safety of the hotel I would never go up a mountain again without all the proper protective clothing and a professional guide.
Sometimes our desire to prove something to ourselves, or to others, guides us into doing foolish things. Sometimes in life we are given warnings. Sometimes they come just in time and sometimes, just sometimes, in the most unexpected form.
Have a nice week,