Have you ever hiked a trail where you pushed yourself harder than before? Have you hiked one where you thought you might not make it to the summit? Welcome Helina to the blog today as she talks about hiking a super steep trail in Brazil.

This past summer I took a trip of a lifetime, not only was I volunteering for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, but I was traveling to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. For me it was crossing off two items on my “things to do before I die” list at the same time.

There was definitely some extensive planning that had to take place before my departure in August.

Hiking to Pedra de Gavea

One was planning on hiking with other US volunteers to Pedra de Gavea.

I will admit I did little research prior to the hike, and I paid for it that day. I arrived in Rio on August 3rd, and on August 4th I loaded up the bus with the other volunteers and headed towards what is one of the hardest hikes in that country. Brazil rates their hikes from 1 (easiest) to 10 (hardest) – it was a 10.

The mountain is also known to be the one of the world’s largest mountains to end directly in the ocean. We decided to do a guided hike with four local guides to help us along the trail. I’ve never done a guided hike before, but there was definitely some comfort in knowing we were hiking with people who knew the trail and were prepared, unlike most of us.

We reached the base around 10 am and started the trek to what seems to be of never-ending steepness. Imagine hiking in a dense jungle with luscious green trees towering over you with breaks of an overcast sky. I felt like I was in the Jungle Book, but was reminded ever so often when I got a glimpse of Rio and other urban cities just below.

After a few hours of climbing what felt like a 90-degree angle, the tree line stopped. We were faced with a massive boulders in front us. The only way up was with a rope.

Once we got to the top of those boulders we had about ¾ of a mile left to the summit. We all made it to the summit even those of us scared of heights.

Almost every hike, every trip, every adventure finishes with a lesson learned.

During this hike I learned to trust myself more. There was definitely multiple parts of the hike that I thought I couldn’t finish but I kept telling myself that “ you can do this, you’ve completely hikes before that you thought you couldn’t finish”, “You got this!”, “Just a little more” … These mantras kept playing over and over, while each foot kept going forward. When we finally reached the top and clouds covered everything, and I was OK with it.

I’m sure the view is nice on a clear day, but the bigger reward was trusting myself and finishing the hike.

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