This story takes place in Hau Hin 14 months ago before I moved to Thailand, but I want to include it for two reasons, firstly because I want you to know I like to live dangerously and secondly, I can’t think of anything else to write today. If you are faint of heart please stop reading now…
I’m not a hero, I’m nothing special despite what you may have heard or read. Ok, so I did save an entire group of school children from an out-of-control wheelbarrow once and if a pizza arrives with olives on I will still eat it despite hating them to my very core…ok, I am a hero…
There has also been times when I’ve felt I was going to perish and leave this mortal coil. There was the time I was backpacking in Canada and had the wonderful experience of what sounded like three bears (at least two) sniffing around my tent one night (would a blog about that be ok on here in the future even though it doesn’t involve Thailand?). There was also the many times I stayed at my Nan’s house with the central heating turned up to its maximum temperature, whilst having to watch Emmerdale…but I survived.
There has been many near death experiences but the most recent one involved a ‘huge mountain’ in a place called Hua Hin which is along the east coast of Thailand.
The day had started like any other day, the sun was shining, I’d had a good sweat without doing anything active and I was still an adventurous hero. I was staying in a place I can’t remember the name of but I don’t see why I should feel bad about that, I just find it hard to remember names…they’re not that important anyway and as my dad always says, ‘as long as you remember to wipe your arse in the morning, you’ll be alright’. He isn’t a particularly wise man but I think he is on to something with that saying.
So, on this fateful day, a day that will be written about in history books when I am famous (famous for what I don’t know yet) I took myself off to Khao Ka Lok beach to try to do some hardcore relaxing. The sun was out so naturally I had my guns out and I forced myself to do some intense, no-holds barred relaxing!
The beach was almost deserted as you can see from the photograph above and the only people who we’re there seemed to be locals. The setting was perfect, a near empty beach, the sound of the waves gently lapping up and down the beach, the sun on my face and a slight breeze…so obviously I became restless.
Relaxing takes practice – it sounds odd to say that but it really does and looking back I don’t think it really relaxed for about 17 years. Ok, I did sit around and do nothing for big, heroic periods of time but I wasn’t ‘relaxing’, if you don’t know the difference you probably need to relax more. I’ve now trained myself to relax properly but on this fateful day that will probably be made into a movie, I was ‘fidgety’.
To my right side I saw the jagged coast line stretch off into the distance but I also saw something that caught my attention…a sign in the shape of an arrow pointing to something just out of my sight. My interest had been piqued.
I wandered over to the sign and saw that it was pointing to some wooden steps leading high up the side of a huge mountain (ok, it was a hill…but a high hill!) This was enough encouragement for a brave hero such as myself and I was quickly on my way up the wooden staircase of doom. I don’t have a photo of the sign but there will be some in this blog soon…just hang on in there with all these words!
The wooden steps soon gave way to the natural rock which despite heading upwards, (like all hills do unless you’re going in the opposite direction…that’s kind of how hills work) the climb was pretty straight forward. I reached the top in probably record time (I don’t know if there is a record for reaching the daunting peak but I feel I probably smashed it if there is one) and was greeted by the most wonderful view…
How’d ya like that? Not too shabby a view is it? Here’s the view from behind me.
My legs were a bit wobbly from the climb and I was a bit dehydrated but I felt a moment of awe, surrounded by all of this natural beauty. After enjoying this wonderful view for roughly six and a half minutes I decided to make my way down again.
On the way up I had come across little arrows painted onto the rocks at intermittent points which helped me find the safest route up and while looking around the summit I saw an arrow pointing towards the other side of the mountain (hill). This, I thought, was the way down so I decided to follow it…this was where things started to go wrong.
I can’t quite remember the exact moment when I began to get a sinking feeling but when an arrow pointed directly off the side of the mountain (hill) and onto the ground some 4 or 500 feet below, I began to get a sense that this wasn’t going to be a gentle stroll down to the bottom. As the sweat began to seep out from under my hat and onto my back I realised I would have to find my own way down. I headed to my left a while, looking for more arrows, then I turned back in the opposite direction in a vain attempt to find a clue as to which way was the correct way down…the route to the left led to a dead-end and to the right, the sheer drop…you can see my problem.
After circling back and forth a few times a teeny, tiny sense of ever so mild panic flashed across my head…is this how it ends? Will the movie of my life have an unhappy ending or will the handsome hero win the day?
I quickly assessed the situation…I was on a mountain (really high hill!), in a foreign country, lost, with no phone signal, no water, sweat pouring out onto my now cold skin and incredibly inadequate clothing for a sleep over! There was nothing else to do but sit down and cry…or was there? Yes,there was…I could go back the way I came (see, clever as well as heroic).
As I reached the summit again I didn’t spare a single glance at the view over the beach but seeing the sea again was a welcome sight…at least I was heading in a direction I knew. But then another thought struck my head…the beach and the jagged rocks I’d climbed over at the start of this heroic adventure were very close to the sea…the question that popped into my head was, ‘what time does the tide come in?’ The thought of getting to the bottom only to find that I was stranded filled my head, my heart began to beat a little bit faster…I was getting the sense of mild panic…I was still being heroic, but in a slightly panicky way…
I was dehydrated now and my legs almost buckled under me on more than one occasion, I’d been on this bloody mountain (REALLY HIGH HILL!!) for about an hour and a half which is almost 90 minutes!
I stayed strong though, gritted my teeth and soldiered on, bravely ignoring my sore calf muscles and the huge 2 centimetre gash I’d suffered on a jagged piece of rock. I couldn’t see any blood coming out of my severe flesh wound but I could tell it wanted to gush out onto the rock…the rock that was trying to claim another victim.
Anyway, to cut a long story short I made it to the bottom, the tide hadn’t moved an inch, I drank some water and everything was fine again…but I will never forget how the monstrous mountain almost took the life of a real hero. I’m just happy I am here to tell my story and for it to be turned into a movie…