Lesson of the Day – Don’t Hike in Flip-Flops

…Don’t worry, I’ll start by prefacing that we didn’t wear flip-flops but we did see lots of people who did!

It was Abigayle’s idea to hike to ‘2 View’ and I was only too happy to tag along. Apparently ‘2 View’ is the highest point on Ko Tao, offering a panoramic view of the whole Island. The look-out spot is marked by two giant rocks, which you crawl up and squeeze through to sit on a flat plateau overlooking the harbour and beaches. The spot itself is well-marked but the directions, if you walk all the way there and don’t go via scooter or taxi, are a little vague.

Abzy researched the best route and having decided that we wanted to walk rather than to be taken there, we loaded the day pack with chips and water and set off. The directions we were going to follow suggested that we were in for a 3 hour hike, which in the end, thank goodness wasn’t, because this wasn’t a leisurely walk in the park!

The first part of the walk went along swimmingly and all seemed to make sense until we reached a closed gate, and what appeared to be, an abandoned bar. Still, no worries, as there was a nice young man loitering around, eager to offer assistance, and though he was under the impression that the viewpoint he pointed out was the one we were looking for – it wasn’t!

Don’t get me wrong, it was very pretty and we could see the ocean below but it certainly wasn’t the highest point on the Island, or what we had set out to see, for that matter.

There was no way of walking higher from this point so back down the path we went until we reached the main road again, and then using bare instinct we walked along a little further until another side road, which was surely the right one this time!

I have to say I have never walked up hills at such sharp inclines and for such a distance; but we were bound and determined not to give up, reassuring ourselves it had to be the right way as we were still walking up. And I think we were right, and were doing great until we took a right instead of a left and found ourselves heading onto private property.

Thankfully there was another young gentleman, who was eager to help, and he set us straight – he even offered us water (goodness knows how disheveled we must have looked!)

Once again we turned around and walked back down the hill, took the left turn instead of the right and started back up a different set of gruellingly steep hills, following the new directions. And then, all of a sudden our quasi-paved road turned into a washed-out, clay-rocky-pot-holed-not-even-a-real-path – I don’t even know what you’d call it but it was tough going and in some parts I almost had to crawl so I wouldn’t fall. By this point, stubbornness had firmly taken hold and even when the path seemed impassable we pressed on.

As the hill/mountain began to even out and, what looked likely to be the peak, came into sight, we passed a couple of abandoned buildings. The first was actually a half-finished construction site and Abzy, being the dare-devil she is, skipped up the concrete steps onto the roof. I followed mainly because I didn’t want her up there alone, and of course, I clucked like a mother hen every time she got close to the roof’s edge. In truth this ended up being the best view of the Island that we got!

Right beside the buildings was a secondary road which on inspection was obviously the route one would take if one was driving – funny thing is we could have probably walked this same road and it would have been a much easier climb. We did almost throw caution to the wind and take it for our descent but, reasoned that it probably was better to stick to the ‘devil-we-know’.

Climbing up to the base of the two rocks to crawl through, in order to experience the view, was the biggest challenge of all, and hence, the lesson of the day – don’t hike in flip-flops!

This last, most difficult portion, of the hike was where we met other view-seekers, who had obviously arrived via scooters and taxis and hadn’t bargained for any kind of climb at all. Most of the people who crossed our path (hahahaha to the pun!) were wearing flip-flops, certainly not the footwear to be wearing to climb up the craggy rocks in order to squish through the look-out point. Those in flip-flops either took them off and went barefoot (seemed safer) or needed a boost and a hand up. I vowed no matter how far we would walk on any given day during this trip – I’d do it wearing running shoes.

Abigayle and I had arrived at ‘2 View’ just before sunset, and though it was beautiful, the true magnificence was on our way back down, as the ball of the sun deepened from yellow-gold into a bright, burning red. And, once again, thank goodness for my trusty running shoes because there is no way I could have walked down those hills in anything else.

needle-eye opening

high on a cliff

a peek into an island below

 

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