Who Said Black Women Don't Camp or Hike - Part 2

Climbing The Sleeping Giant in Thundar Bay

A Quick Recap from "Who Said Black Women Don't Camp or Hike" PART 1.

Camped and successfully crossed Eagle Canyon

Rented an AirBNB for optimal rest after upcoming 22km hike up Sleeping Giant

2 km away from the top of Sleeping Giant, but the bag is getting heavier, the people out are getting fewer, and the day is getting shorter...

Words of Advice

If you’re a novice hiker, or if you’ve just got into the sport, DO NOT attempt to hike a 22 km steep-ass Mountain. It’s a MOUNTAIN. These wondrous God made formations are NOT to be played with. We all struggled for hours with passer-byers laughing at us, telling us we’d make it to the top in 2 more kilometers, or you just have 2 more kilometers to go. It was a cruel unspoken joke that they all seem to share, even though they were strangers to each other, and met us at different points on the mountain. Not sure if they thought the sound of 2 more kilometers was motivating, but I was ready to chop a few people in the throat just as they would chuckle and spit the painful timeframe. 

Every part of my body was in excruciating pain. Years of ballet, jazz, soca fetes, and hot yoga, could not prepare me for the flexibility required to climb that beast. The song lift your leg up, has no idea how hard it could be to lift and hoist, lift and hoist. Hours later as we reached multiple peaks of achievement, our excitement to get to the top dwindled, and we just wanted off the frickening thing. The squirrels seemed to find us amusing as we climbed and they made chirping sounds while they followed us. I felt like they were taunting us. “Quit, go back, it’s too late to be here. Pitch your tent, find somewhere quiet to lay your head”.

After hours of complaining, then bitching, climbing, bitching, and complaining, we eventually made it. We saw a chicken and its baby chicks at the top. There were other people at the top but they explained they were sleeping on the top of the mountain not far by.

"The top was mesmerizing, and the ocean was magical."

But, I was too tired to be excited about my achievement, and was dreading the climb back down. The couple shared my sentiments, as we quickly took pics and estimated the hours needed to descend. It drizzled on us a bit, and we were able to see points where we struggled just hours ago.

If I’m honest with myself, I was probably the one struggling the most. The couple could have left me and would have been much further ahead if they wanted, and at times I told them to keep going without me, but their pity game was strong. So they hung out and we all chatted and bitched together. The guy complained about having a back issue, but that was before he offered to carry my now 50lb bag. I was ready to give up and pray I could sleep with no equipment on the mountain without any wildlife chomping on my voluptuous hiker frame.

Hiking bag
Missing my camping gear

Holding Everything In

It was some real shit coming out of their mouths, and I knew it was another one of those, “one of these things don’t belong”moments. Why Lord? Why did I get myself into this?? I loved the outdoors, but there’s a time for Black people to be on a fricken mountain by themselves, and this was not that time. 

On the way down, the man took my bag as my legs moved even slower. My feet hurt and I really needed to pee. Even though my squat game was on point from years of squating and peeing between two doors in the parking lot at caribana, I was too scared to let my goodness too close to the earth. The squirrels were still mocking us and throwing things at us, and I could only imagine what they would say if I hit them with that 8 hour wetness. It dawned on me, my morning pee was the last time I released, and I probably had 4 or 5 bottles of liquid while climbing. 

The sun departed unapologetically as we descended, so it was now only one Black woman, a Marine Biologist Graduate, and I think he said he worked at a car sales place or he cleaned cars and wanted to take over the business. I walked with my walking sticks like a 80 year old woman, and the girl kept saying how cool it would be to see a bear or cougar, or other crazy shit. The guy was singing weird tones to scare off any wildlife, but the squirrels kept following for a bit and eventually lost interest in us. He too joined into the warp conversation that if a bear or creature from the cat family was watching us, we wouldn’t know until it was too late. I was ready to cuss the two of them, but knew I needed to keep my cool as they carried my backpack and only they wore their head flashlights. If I had just looked in my bag, I would have seen my own head gear and camping lights, but it didn’t even cross my mind. They were seriously driving me crazy.

"After hours of dodging mice and frogs on the path to the parking lot, and the time that the girl yelled, omg a deer, and I looked back to truly see, a deer staring right at us, as he crossed the path behind us. Giving me a confused look like, 'sista you know you don’t belong here at this hour of the night, right?!'"

Causing me to find life for a millisecond and grab the guy’s arm as I shrieked. The guy jolted back and nearly threw me down with disgust, questioning what I was doing. I apologized and innocently claimed I was frightened, but knew my humility was running short with the two of them. I eventually snapped at them asking them not to talk about animals mulling us to death as we walked in darkness. So we all took unspoken cues to sing weird noises to warn the wildlife we were in their turf, and exiting as swiftly as our swollen legs could move.

The Hopeful End

Our gps’ started to give us hope and we eventually made it to parking lot. It took us 10 hours, of which 6 of them were grueling because my crazy ass guides were fantasizing a gruesome death in the middle of Northern Ontario dark skies. All I wanted to do was pee, shower, and sleep. I thought about using my two door Caribana car skills but decided I could hold it until I arrived at  the airbnb I booked the night before. It wasn’t going to be as spectacular as my stay the night before, but I decided not to pitch a tent the night before my 16 hour drive home. 

Shereen Simon

Check out the YouTube video that tells the story of my AirBNB not giving me the pass to get into my place after my horrendous 10 hour hike.

Find out where I slept! Did I ever get to pee? Did I even get to eat after the hike? Watch now on the blackprint.com YouTube channel. 

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