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Month: July 2019

High Hopes Hike 2019

High Hopes Hike 2019

Be a knight of your goal

And a warrior of your dream!

It was on a Friday evening sometime in March when my love and I decided to join the High Hopes Hike 2019, organized by Bloodwise. I admit we were under the influence of a nice glass of wine and in a moment of madness we signed up for what Bloodwise described as a fun and challenging event which would surely leave lasting memories on the stunning Pap of Glencoe. Well, it was stunning and did leave some lasting memories, but lets start at the beginning, for signing up was the easiest part of the challenge.

Preparation

When we signed up in March, a couple of months ago, I was enthusiastic. Being a MPC member now for almost two years, I have done things I never thought I was capable of. Climbing a mountain? Never done it before. I thought it might be my real challenge for 2019. Besides walking all over the Netherlands, this would be a real personal challenge to me.

For those who don’t know me that well, I am the one who does things whitout having any idea what the consequences might be. I read it, I like it and I dive right into it, 100%, without overlooking the big picture. It happens to me over and over again. Lucky for me, I have a husband who slows me down from time to time. But not this time; he said we can do this. As time went by I started thinking about it more and then one day there was this big envelope from Bloodwise with all the necessary information. All of a sudden I wondered if I could really do this? And at the same time a little voice inside my head said to me, you can’t say A without saying B…

Saturday 25 May 2019

It’s early in the morning, when an über takes us to the railway station in Glasgow. There, a bus is waiting for us to take us to the Glencoe Inn. As we leave the city of Glasgow, we immediately recognized some places from last year when we did the West Highland Way. Again we were struck by the beautiful landscapes and the views of this amazing country, a song of Coldplay came out of the radio speakers singing, “I feel my heart beating, I feel my heart beat beneath my skin.” It couldn’t be more striking. I felt my heart beat beneath my skin, because in a flash of a moment I realized,  enthusiastic as I can be, I signed up for something I had no idea of what’s it would involve. I have never ever hiked a mountain. We did the West Highland Way and we did Arthur’s Seat, but I knew this was going to be something totally different. All of a sudden I got nervous. What if I couldn’t make it? It seemed such a nice challenge under the influence of a glass of wine back in March.

Pap of Glencoe

Before we started the hike, we got a few instructions from some serious Mountain Hikers. Scott, Anna, Kate and James were our guides for today’s hike. At the beginning Scott made the joke that the dangerous part of this hike would be getting us in one piece on the other side of the road. He, probably did it to break the ice, but it did not ease my mind! As soon as we passed a gate, some sort of entrance, the path took us up to the hillside. The weather that day was not going to work with us, since it drizzled and later on even rained. But hey, let’s not spoil the fun! Pretty soon steep uphill work began, but looking back, views opened up behind us. We could look over Loch Leven to Loch Linnhe.

At some point we had to wait for the whole group. The last part should be a technical tough part and the Mountain Hikers wanted to keep the group together.

I think at that point my nerves reached the highest level. I wanted to go back, especially after another couple, who I thought did this with their eyes closed, said they were not going with us to the top. I looked at my love (maybe we should not go any further too) and all he said was; no way, you are not going back, you are going to do this! Oh boy, does this man know me. If he let me go down he knew that I was going to regret it for the rest of my life.

In this last part to the top we had to step over a cliff. The part I stood on was no wider than my two feet. How the hell was I going to do this? And then there was Anna. She stood there to help me cross over and I couldn’t accept her help. I felt so awful, I asked her if it was okay if my husband took her place. To her it was absolutely no problem, but I felt awful for it seemed I did not trust her that much and I appologized. But Anna somehow understood, there was no pushing from her side, no comment, she just stepped aside and let my husband help me.

As soon as I crossed over, the people in front and behind me started to cheer and applaud. And this awesome lady called Claire shouted at me, “well done, Wonderwoman!” It makes you feel so good knowing there is a group that supports you all the way. As we reached the top, tears were running down mine and other faces. Despite the fact that the mist left us with no beautiful views, we all achieved a goal, and that made us very proud. Lots of pictures were taken despite the bad weather.

Going up meant, at some point you have to go back, and going down is not always easier. Anna taught me so much on my way down. She stayed with me all the way and talked me through it.

She taught me to hike with a pole, how to walk sideways, and kept on talking to me knowing I was having a rough time.

When I walk with my Dutch Peakers In the Netherlands, I keep talking to those having a hard time. Now Anna did the same to me. She kept talking even though I said I would have a bad night of sleep because all I would hear all night was her talking to me. She talked about all her adventures, all the countries she visited where she did this kind of work, for more than ten years now. A job at the office was not something for her, although it would paid better, she said.

And in the end there was also James. He helped me on a path with a lot of little rocks which started to roll as soon as I set foot on them. James let me put my shoe against his, let me put my hand on his shoulder and with the other hand on the pole we got down. At some point it really made me laugh because I felt like a blind person, walking with one hand on his shoulder and the other one on the pole. When I told him, he said he had climbed the Ben Nevis with a blind person! Aren’t these Mountain Hikers amazing people?

Anna, unfortunaly we didn’t got the chance to say goodbye, since you had to help somebody else in the end, but to me you were amazing. You taught me, motivated me, encouraged me, gave me instructions and compliments.  Wherever you are, whatever you do, you will be forever in my memories and one day you will be a damn good teacher! James thank you so much for helping the blind and the awesome tip for a good whiskey! Last but not least, thank you Bloodwise and in particulary Stacy, for this fun and challenging event. It was challenging, it was fun, it was hard, it was wet, but above all, it was awesome! I won’t do it again tomorrow but who knows, maybe someday…

High Hopes

High Hopes

Had to have high, high hopes for a living

Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling

I was gonna be that one in a million

Always had high, high hopes

                                                           Panic at the disco

High Hopes

Don’t we all have high hopes at some moments in life? Shouldn’t we have high hopes at some moments in life? We want the best out of everything and especially out of life. I know I had high hopes when I first heard my mother had cancer. I thought science was already that far that we can cure quite a  lot of cancers. And after being clean for five years I still had high hopes she would make it through this horrible disease. Unfortunately, the cancer came back and nothing could be done to cure her.

We all know that where there is a high involved there probably will be lying in wait a disappointment  somewhere around the corner. My high hopes vanished, and I had to face reality. I lost my mother when she was 75 and I was 39 with two little kids, and a loving, supporting and caring husband. Throughout the years I had a lot of questions I wasn’t able to ask her anymore.

On my walk today  I spoke with other Dutch Peakers who had high hopes for a life but also hit bottom in their lives. Both Ria and Caroline lost their husbands. One had cancer and the other one had a heart attack. Both women hit bottom, and somewhere on the road to recovery they met MPC and the Dutch Peakers. Every time I hear stories like these, I am touched.

We talked about how they rise again and what it took them to get back to high hopes. And although it sounds strange, that’s why these walks are so beautiful and valuable. There’s a story in everybody…you just have to listen and walk.

Umfassungsweg

Our walk for today bears a German name. That’s no surprise, for Louise took us on a walk in the region of Overijssel, an area better known as Twente, amongst us Dutch People. And Twente is very close to the German border. But that’s not why this walk is called Umfassungsweg. It owes its name to a landscape architect called Petzold. It must have been somewhere around 1890 that he created this route that includes the heart of the state we are walking in today.

We started in a place called Delden, with a little over 7400 inhabitants, and an ice cream shop that sells the best ice cream ever. Unfortunatly as we passed, it was closed.

2 Km North of this city lies a beautiful castle named Twickel, located on the largest private estate in the Netherlands. The estate not only includes a castle but also a court, gardens and outbuildings. We walked through the estate and enjoyed the beauty and diversity of the landscape.

For Louise it brough back youthful memories. Her grandmother used to live in the region, and as a child she used to walk here often and even went ice skating in the winter. Whether it rains or the sun shines, it’s always beautiful here according to Louise. And when you work as a psychologist with people who are mentally disabled in combination with addiction problems and phychiatric disorders, I do understand that walking in an area like this clears your head.

New meetings

Today I had the honour of meeting some new Peakers. Maybe new is too big a word, with social media all over, you wonder who’s new to you.  What I meant by “new” is that I had never met them in life.

Jolanda is one of those whom I did not have the pleasure of meeting before. In 2010 she and her husband left for South Africa. They had high hopes, for they decided that South Africa was going to be the country where they would grow old and grey. They had no intention of ever returning to the Netherlands.

But then her husband’s company went bankrupt.  When you don’t have a job in South Africa you don’t have a green card, and no green card means you have to leave the country. The company orginally was German and so they moved back to Germany, close to the Dutch borders. Still every day she misses South Africa and she is trying hard to get her life back on track.

And then there is Antje. Antje lives on one of the Frysian Islands and had to take a boat trip of two hours and a drive of over two hours to join us for a walk. Travelling almost half a day to walk with other Dutch Peakers means she certainly must have high hopes. I hope Antje we made these high hopes come true. Later this year you will hear more of this lady, for we have plans to go to walking in her region at the end of September.

And then there is Caroline, sweet Caroline. I have done several walks with her so far and every time my admiration for this woman grows. She is the one that lost her husband from a heart attack when she had two children of 20 and 16 years old. The first time we met was on our walk in Scheveningen. I have to admit I didn’t talk to her much that first time, but I certainly noticed her. Why did I notice her? Well this is a little confession and I hope she will laugh about it…I know she will.

As I looked at her feet I saw she was wearing sneakers. And I get it, not everybody has decent hiking boots the first time you join in for a walk, but somehow I had my doubts if she would make it on those sneakers, but she did, and that’s when my admiration for this woman started to grow. She is a tough lady, and there is hardly anything that stops her.

Not long after that she bought hiking boots.  Caroline often suffers from pain in her knees, but she keeps on walking, no matter what. You are an absolute go-getter, a fighter, Caroline!

Caroline works in the housing market as a coach. I hear a lot of you thinking, what’s she doing? Well that’s exactly what I thought so I asked her to explain it a little and know I will try to explain it to you.

When people have bought a new house she guides them with the additional work. Everything that’s not standard applied into the house or what differs from the original blueprints (for example when you want to relocate a wall), she will be the contact for the buyers.

New meetings

The North Mill

Although there is a lot of talking while walking there’s always something unexpected in our walks. This time we stumbled upon an 650 year old watermill. Today this mill was in operation because of National Mill Day in the Netherlands. A couple of volunteers were very enthusiastic in telling us how the mill produced oil out of flaxseed. The mill has been renovated several times and everything you see inside the mill is still as it was in 1347.

I never knew that how much flaxseed it took to get a little bottle of flaxseed oil. A whole bucket, for just a little bottle.

I started today with high hopes. Looking back on another beautiful walk in our little country, I can say with certainty that my high hopes didn’t end in disappointment.

Thank you Louise for a beautiful walk which “umfasste” everything.