For reasons I can no longer remember, I hadn't been too keen on hiking up Cavehill when my friends told me that they were making a trip and asked me to join. I think it was something to do with what I know of my stamina and how I had never been particularly fond of hiking, but on the day itself, I woke to my alarm and prepared myself for the day out.
When we stepped off the bus at the stop beneath the hill, it was clear that we had left the city. The green lounged around us, parts of it lit and parts of it in shadows. I snapped a photo of some trees that looked like they were made of a million glitter spots.
Belfast castle was also at the foot of the hill, and it was there that we headed towards first. There wasn't much to see, just the grounds, so we started our hike, stopping every now and then to nibble on some snacks we brought.
We would also stop every so often, such as when we came across these massive fallen trees and took a group shot. My friends insisted on including me in a photo, so I went and climbed up the trunk. After the photos were taken, I tried hopping off and scratched my fingers along my way down. My friends immediately asked if I was okay but I felt like it wouldn't really be a proper adventure without a few scratches here and there and thus brushed their concerns off.
I also kept stopping to capture foliage that glowed in the sun.
We could see a bird's eye view of Belfast city all the way, but that wasn't as impressive as when we climbed a wall three times our height into a cave. It was literally like cliff climbing, our hands and feet searching for groves in the vertical rock to hook onto. It was also a lot more terrifying coming down than it was going up. Before climbing up, I'd made notes of the spots where I would be able to grip onto but when I was coming down, all I had was the directions of my friends as to where I could place my feet next (which I was really grateful for and couldn't have done without) and the fear of falling was so real. It probably seems silly, as there was really nothing in the cave but some wrappings litterbugs left behind before us, however, it was the thrill of scaling the rock wall that we went for.
I remember being completely stressed out the days before, by work at my part-time job as well as the pressure to get a full-time job within these few months. This day out opened my eyes again towards what I had to do, the way life works. I remember hiking, placing one foot in front of the other and repeating that motion, step by step, and it didn't take that much effort to reach the top. Then I realised it was the secret in the steps. All I had to do was take a step. I was surrounded by nature where it's so easy to feel at home, and I had my camera and the company of friends. There were times where we wandered up little hills that were more like stages along our way up to the bigger top, just so we could see how it was like from up there before making our way down again. There was no rush; everything happened in good time. It was remembering my heart pulses at its own pace, and that it was these manageable steps we make each moment that add up.
A fluffy bee, moss and marbled rock.
One of the last photos I took was of a tree shaped as a wishbone.
I was so glad I went. I arrived home feeling that satisfying ache in my body, and felt really energised for the next few days.
*I've been trying to find ways to post photos with higher resolution on my blog while maintaining them at this size, but I'm not too sure to. Let me know in the comments if you happen to know how.