13 Sep Lessons Learned from a Mountain.

Sometimes I have some really stupid ideas. Say some really stupid things. And then spend agonizing hours regretting them.

Today was one of those days.

Remember how I attempted to hike up the Palisi mountain when I first moved here? And quit a third of the way up? Well, we were out to dinner with fabulous friends from Team Ironheart and I happened to mention that climbing Palisi was on my list of #StuffToDoOneDay. Luisa and Hanah agreed they too wanted to hike Palisi #OneDay. Before I knew it, ridiculous words came out of my mouth. Like, “Hey wouldnt it be cool if we all hiked it together?! …and soooo fun if we hiked it this weekend?!”

Then somebody else said, “Okay but we shouldnt stop at the top of Palisi, we should hike across the ridge to the next mountain and go to Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave! Via the Scotsman’s Trail!”

And I said an even more ridiculous thing. “Yes we should!!” Yay.

So it was decided.

The Hot Man wasnt happy about my idea. He raised a number of different points. Like…me being really unfit. And anemic. And sick with a few other things. “Dont you think you should train a bit more before you try to climb a mountain?”

I didnt want to listen to him. Because I was so captivated by the fabulousness of my wonderful idea.

We set off at 6.30am in good spirits, walking from our house up to the start of the trail. I wanted to DRIVE to the start but some superfit person on the team said, “We should walk. Its not far.”
Five minutes up and I was thinking bad thoughts about that person already…and thinking, ‘maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all…’

Here’s a photo of everybody walking to the start. As you can see, Im waaay at the back. Hmmm…i wonder why.


The trail up the Palisi mountain is a popular one for many. Lots of people hike up every morning and look very happy while theyre doing it.

I’m not one of those people.

We walked. And walked. Then we walked some more. I didnt feel so good. I also felt bad because my very nice teammates had to keep slowing down to wait for me to catch up.

“We don’t leave anyone behind!” they said.

I kinda sorta wished they were heartless selfish beasts so they would tell me to go home. But they’re not. And they didn’t.

It got to the point where the Hot Man had to help pull me up. While Big Son offered motivating commentary. “We’re nearly there. Just around this corner!” Big Son understood that the first law of motivational speaking is to always tell lies.

Finally, we made it to the top. General jubilation all around.

But the adventure was just beginning. It was time for the Scotsman’s Trail, otherwise known as Seti Afoa’s track.  


The trail over the connecting ridge goes through dense tropical rainforest. Over boulders, down gullies, under fallen trees, up steep rocky climbs and then more trees and gullies and rocks. My exhaustion was replaced by unease at being surrounded by too much nature. Forest means snakes, wild boar, giant lizards, mutant centipedes and maybe leeches and ticks? I battled the irrational desire to walk around tapping two sticks together – to scare away the bears. (Bonus points to whoever can identify what movie I got that essential wilderness survival tip from…) I began to doubt the sanity of the whole expedition. Especially when we came to the rope climbing section.

Im too old for this. And too unfit. Too fat. Too tired. Dammit!


But when youre in the middle of nowhere, there’s only one thing to do. Keep going.

By the time we reached the RLS gravesite, the sun was up.


We consumed some energizing snacks, including delicious cupcakes baked by Luisa and Picnic candy bars supplied by Hanah.

Superwoman smiles on the trail



The hike back was worse than the hike up. It was hot, the water was finished and my anemic self was shutting down. The Hot Man had to listen to me complain halfway down the mountain and then help carry me down the other half when I was too disoriented to complain anymore. I was reeling. At one point I had to lie down on the side of the trail.

Oh…just admiring the skyline…

I had only one lucid thought by that point.

‘This was a stupid idea. I will never ever try to do anything so stupid. Ever.’

The Hot Man further cemented this resolution by muttering repeatedly (as he lugged me along) -“Dont you EVER think of doing something so stupid ever again. Look at you, you know you could die up here! I told you this would happen!”

Considering that the poor man was carrying me downhill, I figured it best not to argue. Or try to assert my wannabe-superwoman’ness.

It took us an awfully long time to get home and I’ve never been so glad to see our front door. It gave the children a fright to see their mother being half-carried up the drive.Thank you Darren and Mark for ensuring I didnt die on the road. Thank you Big Son for lending me your shoulder. Thank you Team Ironheart for a most memorable adventure…

I’ve been lying down in the air conditioned room all afternoon and now feel refreshed enough to make this solemn declaration. May my blog
readers be the witnesses…

I Lani do promise and covenant, that I will never attempt any more adventures that require some measure of fitness and endurance. I will be mindful of my limitations and first train and prepare phyically and mentally before I commit to anything that takes me outside my cave.

Oh, and I promise that I will listen to my husband when he tells me climbing a mountain is a dumb idea.

  • Loveitt

    Thank you Lani for the laughs despite your struggle! Feel ya!

    September 13, 2014 at 10:36 am
  • Lima Tufaga

    Hey Lani, enjoyed reading this, and seeing the beautiful photos. You made the hike, one less item crossed off your bucket-list! you got some nice greenery hiking spots there.

    September 13, 2014 at 10:37 am
  • To'asavili

    You still made it to the top and back down… I probably would’ve made everyone mad by asking to hide under the shade until the sun goes down. I don’t play with Samoa’s heat.

    Awesome working making it to and fro!

    September 13, 2014 at 10:39 am
  • Loretta

    lol you have the best way of telling stories, has me in stitches each time, feeling your pain…

    September 14, 2014 at 12:03 am
  • Malaela

    I was exhausted just reading
    Thanks for the good laugh…

    September 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm

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