After day 3 of the trek, I was done in. I woke up the next morning feeling better than I’d felt finishing the day, but I was still tired, sore and more than a little bit ashamed about crying down the mountain the day before.
Within 10 minutes of grabbing my breakfast, my fellow trekkers had changed all that. Everyone was so positive and excited for the final day that I couldn’t help but catch their energy.
Unfortunately there were a few people struggling with illness on this day in particular but their strength and determination to complete the trek in good spirits was so inspiring that I was feeling happy to lace up my boots for the last time on this trek.
The weather had cleared up since the downpours of day 3 and the sun was beaming down on us as we climbed up past the ski slopes and made our way on to the forest paths. This was much more like the treks I’d previously done in Yosemite and I was feeling comfortable enough to take in the sights around me now that we were on softer ground.
The trek through the forest was beautiful, all sunlight and shadows. Every so often a call would go up from the back of the group to announce bikers racing down the narrow paths. This would mean that the group had to leap into the trees on either side to avoid getting squished by our two-wheeled trail companions. As scary as this sounds, it quickly became a call down the line of trekkers, injecting a bit of adrenaline in to our tired footsteps.
Whilst some found the forest really difficult because of the consistent scenery, this was my favourite part of the trek. I had enough breath to chat to other walkers, getting to know them even better (which considering my initial concerns about meeting new people was amazing) and the smells and sounds of the forest were all around. It was beautiful and I really felt lucky to have been able to undertake this adventure.
At the top of the mountain, we paused to look out over the ridge towards Braşov centre.
For the final day of the trek, we had a hotel booked as a treat for all of the hard work. We knew we had a little bit of luxury up ahead. However, coming down the mountain and walking through Braşov centre was nothing compared to the trek up the hill to the hotel. We’d been told that the hill was a steep one. Since the word of the week had been ‘undulating’ to describe ascending mountains, we thought that we were fairly prepared for a steep hill. That hill nearly broke us. I think that because we were tackling it after 4 days of trekking, at the end of a 23km trek that day, with the heat of the day beating down on us (and because it was bloody steep), it felt like the highest climb of the week. At one point, I was walking backwards up the hill to try to take the pressure off my knees.
After many stops up that damn hill (and a lot of swearing!), we finally made it to the hotel. It was fancy. We were tired, muddy and in some cases, bloody from slips and falls. We absolutely did not care. The incredible feeling of crossing into the hotel grounds was so emotional that the literal blood, sweat and tears didn’t seem to matter anymore.
Waiting on the side of the pool was a table filled with glasses of champagne or orange juice. We toasted ourselves, each other and those who we carried in our hearts throughout the journey. There were lots of tears but I managed to hold it together until I got to my room.
As soon as I crossed the threshold of my room, I felt the emotion start to overwhelm me. The enormity of what I had achieved hit me. I called home and burst into tears. After explaining that I was fine, just emotional, it was time to grab a shower. The water was freezing. What a time for a hot water problem at the hotel! I was that muddy/ dirty, I didn’t care! I spent as long as I could in the freezing cold shower and then headed down for dinner.
We had a gorgeous 3 course dinner set out for us to celebrate our achievements. The hotel had catered for my dietary needs (gluten free and dairy free) perfectly. Despite the celebratory nature of the dinner, we were all so shattered that we headed off to bed fairly early ready for our flights home the next morning.
I would definitely say that this trek was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s also one of the most informative experiences that I’ve ever had. It taught me so much about who I am, who I can be and who I want to be. I know that who I surround myself with can influence my attitude. I’ve learned that I can do far more than my fear tells me I can. I have a better understanding about my physical limitations and abilities. I’m better at pushing myself to complete difficult tasks when I’m supporting someone else through it and they are relying on me. I can trust my own instincts about when I need to rest and what I can push myself through. I remembered that I don’t like small talk. I want to talk about what makes someone tick, what they love, what they hate and what they think of when the night falls. It also taught me that I can travel alone and that I might just like it.
For the full trip posts, visit the links below: