Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guest blog: Kelsey Stotz on "Climbing Tea Mountain"

Here's a reflection on the question:  "What did you think about your climb up Tea Mountain?"

Success!  Group one makes it to the top of the mountain!
When I first heard this hike would take about two hours, my first thought was, “are you kidding me?’  I considered staying behind, enjoying the scenery, taking the bus, listening to the birds and drinking tea. But alas, my lovely classmates and I geared up for probably the most exercise I have done in the entire life. Preparing for the next day proved difficult. I knew jeans were a bad idea, so I put on the lightest and comfiest “exercise” sweat pants I thankfully brought along. The next foggy morning around 9:00am, we jumped off the bus upon reaching our destination and I looked ahead of me, and up, and up, and up at the hike I was about to face. The fog made the initial impression look like something straight out of a Tolkien novel. Our tour guide smiled, raised her neon yellow flag, and we climbed up the foggy hill to Mordor.
More success!  Group two arrives as well!
The first half hour was the hardest, and when I say “hardest,” I mean a half hour straight of climbing stone stairs. Muscles started cramping that I never even knew I had, and sweat was running down my face by the end of the first half. However, after we wiped the sweat from our faces, took our pulses and turned away from the stone stairs of doom, the view was…not South Dakota. The view was so “not South Dakota,” in fact, that I found the energy to take my camera out and take pictures, the results on my camera looking like Google Image results of “scenic tea farm valleys.” The next half hour of climbing, I will not lie, hurt, but we laughed about our pain, and we marveled at the scenery before us. The top of Mount Doom brought even more amazing Google Image results, where we took pictures together, separate, and showed off our shaking calves. Sweaty and smiling, we marched down the mountain to the valley below to eat lunch at a local resident’s house, much appreciated, and well deserved.

Editors Note:  If you do not see your son/daughter/friend in either of these pictures, it does not mean they did not make the summit - it only means they might have been sitting down catching their breath at the time the picture was taken........or, they may have been shopping.  :-)

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