Adventure is such a broad concept and yet individual – the extent to which we will go and of how it beautifies our horizons. Having climbed for more than 8 years, every rock-climbing trip and even every climb still feels like an adventure to me – which I deem as a blessing.
The adrenaline from the inherent risk and power of the sport, coupled with grace in the movement and tranquility from the focus (“being in the zone”, so they say), have got me absolutely hooked. But another amazing aspect of rock-climbing, is the less trodden places that it has brought me to – Krabi (Thailand), Ceuse (France), Yangshuo (China), Rodellar (Spain) and finally Blue Mountains (Australia).
Camping and climbing at the charming countryside of Ceuse in southern France is probably one of my most memorable trips. Arriving in France (Paris) for the first time and taking a 6-hour southbound train to Gap on my own was fun, but landing in Gap at 9pm which was 25km away from the Les Guérins campsite at Ceuse without any means of public transport was adventure.
I knew, of course, that the worst case scenario would be to walk 25km with a 30kg load on me. But in life, a gamble sometimes pays off. From the darkness of the empty streets, emerged a car which stopped next to me. A male angel actually offered me a ride upon seeing the hitch-hiking sign on my backpack. When faced with the possibility of walking 25km with a 30kg load, there should be no doubt at all about jumping into any car that stops by along the way. Anyway, I suppose the driver would have more reason to be wary than me. Oh well, vive la France!
Two weeks of awesomeness began. Under the shooting stars across the evening sky of Ceuse, mooncakes and Chinese tea (which I brought) never tasted so good. Of course, there were also freshly-baked pain au chocolat from the only bakery in Sigoyer and fantastic pizza at Chez Ligo (which I have yet to find any better ones!).
The lovely landscape of southern France (which I later found out to be pretty well-known) and the affable international community of rock-climbers further sweetened my stay.
Not to forget the fact that Ceuse, a shimmering crown atop rolling fields, is globally renowned among rock-climbers for its quality routes on limestone cliffs. Humbling but enriching.
Life goes on for me after Ceuse, but it never feels the same anymore – as with most adventures which resonate in the heart and stretch the soul.