Kristen’s Exercise Series: Climbing 1,272 steps

In my foolish youth, I did my fair share of climbing whatever was in front of me. (Towers or something, I mean. That was a weird sentence). Jenny, Molly and I  climbed approximately 15,768 towers throughout Western Europe (although right now I can actually only think of two… but there HAD to have been more, right guys?!). I did a hike up to the White Cliffs of Dover, dressed like a complete idiot. I even hiked around the moors of England with Mol-lay and Little J, cavorting around 8+ miles in fog and mist.

With all those steps under my belt, you’d think I would be mildly competent at this. Or would, at the very least, wear the correct shoes. NOPE!

And now, without further adieu, the story of how I was completely unprepared for a tour I did in Krabi.

First, because I am benevolent and kind as well as humble and beautiful, here’s a little map so you can have a visual pinpoint of where I was.

I was in Krabi just for a little stopover before heading out to “the islands” (or in my case, Koh Lanta. Island hopping is not for me. Neither are backpacker grungy accommodations. I gotta sleep in style, yo!). Literally the only thing I knew about Krabi was that something called the Emerald Pool was really close by. So, I signed up for a tour including said Pool, completely ignoring the other parts of the tour.

I’m the last one picked up, sandwiched next to a French family with an adorable toddler (who all the Thai ladies called “Big Boss.” Very accurate).

First stop, the famous Emerald Pool! And besides wiping out and falling on my butt in front of everyone, quite enjoyable.

Next we pulled into the “hot springs.” My amazing touring abilities remind me that these were springs that… were hot. Yep. Basically I sat in a natural hot tub for half an hour.

After tucking in to a lunch, we pulled up at a huge temple complex. The guide marches us to the bottom of a staircase, announces, “One hour to go up, half an hour to come back down,” and leaves us to our will.

Well, hell. This sounds like fun. I have no earthly idea what is at the top, but might as well go see, right? I breeze past the sign warning that there were 1,272 steps, marching up the first flight of 20. Please note I am wearing my bathing suit, a stupid dress, and OLD NAVY FLIP FLOPS. This was a disaster waiting to happen.

By step 300, I look something like this:

I had just asked an American girl on her way down, “How…. much… further?” (Sidebar, I started assuming anyone wearing Toms was an American and chatting them up. 97% of the time I was correct). She laughed a little meanly and informed me that I was barely a quarter of the way up.

The next 45 minutes were some of the most difficult of my life. I got into the habit of just trying to get up every 25 steps (or every 50 steps, if I was feeling bold) before taking a break. I would literally just collapse on the steps, feebly trying to stay out of the way of others better than I. Please note I also had about a teaspoon of water left, which I was trying to conserve lest death starting hanging around. Please also note that SOME OF THE STEPS WERE THIS HIGH. WHO DOES THAT?! (water bottle for measurement’s sake).

Despite my belief that I was going to pass out – again – I somehow stumbled my way to the top. Of course by that time I could care less about what was up there, why I had done my Herculean task, or even why I was in Thailand. I snapped a couple of photos, chatted up some storm chasers, refilled my water bottle (God bless the water cooler at the top. Thank you, Thailand.), and started the painful process down.

This time around, although my calves were burning, I loved being the inspirational figure who got to tell the others, “You’re almost there! You got this!” We’re all one big happy family.

I’ll tell you one thing, though. My shoes came off almost immediately on the way down. Ain’t no way Mama’s going to go down 1200 steps in rubber flip flops.

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