Chapter 4 - Stronger Than I Know

Outdoor adventures are one of the main reasons Elira Apparel exists. 
Immersion in nature. 
Challenging our limitations.
Pushing past societal expectations.
Our community recently started telling us about their experiences in adventuring in the great outdoors. We’re excited to begin sharing the stories of these brave, growing people and the excitement they’ve experienced outside. 
We hope you enjoy reading their stories in their own words. Let’s celebrate them and be challenged to push ourselves in our own ways!
Sometimes – no ALL the time – we really have no idea what we’re capable of. 
That proved true for Jessie, who had no idea what she was getting herself into on a recent trip to the other side of the globe. It stretched her beyond what she thought she could handle… but in the process she learned how far she could actually go. 
Outdoor Adventures Jessie - An Adventure in South Africa
I really need to read descriptions better before I sign up for tours. 
“Take a Guided Hike of Table Mountain” the brochure said. Sure, I thought. Why not? I mean, it did say customers should be in good shape and that the hike would be strenuous. But my husband and I have hiked before. We’re relatively fit. How hard could it be? 
Well, “hike” must have a different definition in South Africa. This was in no way a “hike.” This was a scramble up boulders straight up the side of a 1000-meter mountain! 
We began the climb innocently enough. It was nothing strenuous enough to raise any red flags. But when we stopped for a short break and photo op, our guide, Tauriq, told us the scrambling was about to begin. 
I still wasn’t alarmed, but I probably should have been. We scrambled for 20 minutes or so and then took another break/photo op. Apparently, that was the last stop to change your mind or have Tauriq gently suggest this isn’t for you. He silently assessed us and decided we were both capable and we were too naive to even think of turning back! 
So we pressed onward and upward, quite literally. 
We were on the India Venstra “trail.” You won’t find the trail on any maps of the mountain because they really don’t want inexperienced people trying to go up that way. There’s a well marked, gentle path with stairs that most people take. Or they can take the cable car. 
But definitely not India Venstra. 
That’s only for locals, mountaineers, or people dumb enough or desperate enough for Instagram engagement to follow Tauriq straight up! We stopped at the famous and aesthetic ‘venstra’ (window in the native languages) and took some fun photos before continuing up, up, and away.
There were a few times I wanted to stop and/or cry. But we were past the point of no return and the only way off the mountain was up the mountain. In some places I needed a helping hand just to get my foot in the right crevice and then a little lift from behind to get to the next boulder. 
At one point we were treated to a very rare sight of an African Eagle flying not-so-high above us. Tauriq was very excited, as he had only seen one a handful of times in the past. Our treat was even more thrilling than just one raptor though - the eagle was being chased by two Kestrels who were trying to warn the big guy away from their nest. It was really exciting but I wasn’t quite comfortable enough to turn around, look up, and enjoy the rare sight.
Three-and-a-half hours from the start and we made it to the top. We took our time enjoying the view and the feeling of accomplishment. Silently we mocked all the people who had come up on the cable car, even though I’d been actively wishing to be among them a mere hour before.
The entire adventure revealed a strength and endurance I didn’t know I had. If I’d known what I was signing up for, I definitely would NOT have tried to scale that mountain. 
I did it. I conquered the literal mountain in front of me! I overcame my fears and pushed way beyond my self-perceived limitations.