Girl Power at Guguan

“That’s it! You’re at the top!” Hearing that I took a deep breath and looked up at my surroundings. Sure enough, I was at the top of the rock with very little room to go anywhere except down the other side. I headed down to give the next person space. I could hear people saying “Use your left hand to hold the rung” and “Keep going! You can do it!” As the next person went up,  I gave similar encouragement while they were coming down.  Finally, we were all back together on the other side. When Dory asked, “Do we go on?” we looked at each other in silence. Someone said “Well there’s no way I’m going back over that!” and another said, “Yes, let’s keep going.” So onwards we went.

Guguan Seven Heroes

What were we doing? We were hiking the Yuanzui trail. It was day three of a short hiking trip to Guguan to hike a few of the Seven Heroes. A week before the trip Dory had asked us if we’d like to follow the Yuanzui trail and she sent us a link to a YouTube video. Replies varied from “Are you crazy?!” to “Think that’s too hard for me” and “I get vertigo.” The consensus was a definite no! So the itinerary was kept to climbing Heroes. However, after two fun days hiking together, Dory asked us again and I guess the newly-formed sisterhood gave us the courage to say “Why not?” and “Let’s give it a go.”

Yuanzi Trail

So there we were, giving it a go. After that first scary climb we had about five minutes’ respite with a walk along a tree-lined ridge. Then the next rock suddenly loomed up ahead. A sheer slab of rock, with scanty iron handholds leading up to a rope that went along the ridge top. My legs had that jelly-like feeling and I didn’t dare look anywhere except in front as we went up. Once again, Dory went first and when I reached her I had to walk on as there was no space to congregate. By now we had started to get into a groove. Dory pointed out things to me and I passed it onto the next person. The girls below would say “Move your foot left a bit” or “It’s just a bit further! You can do it” and then once at the top we would encourage the others coming up. There was definite teamwork going on here. This time the top was a long narrow ridge with a dip where we huddled together for a group photo.  About an hour and several rocky slabs later, we reached the summit. An hour after that, we had scrambled down the last sheer section of the mountainside and reached the safety of the forest. We were all grateful to return to a trail with gentle slopes on either side rather than a sheer drop.

Girl Power

At the same time, we were all elated and, looking back at the ridge, very proud of our accomplishment. We had pushed ourselves to our limits and done something we hadn’t thought possible. We definitely surprised ourselves. We all agreed that we made a great supportive group that was good at encouraging each other. Had we gone with our families it would have been very different. We would probably have heard phrases like “Come on Mum, don’t be a scaredy cat!” or “Look at me!” as a child hung off the edge knowing it would scare us. Or the typical teen complaint “How much further? I’ve had enough!” I think girl power is the preferred way to go. That’s why I can’t wait for our next adventure: Dabajianshan here we come!

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