The traditional climbing of Turtle Head Peak is the part of the mastership process I had been looking forward to most. Somehow, participating in the climb made the mastership process feel “real”. Yes I have been training and reading and writing and checking things off of lists, but attending the masters’ training and climbing the mountain were the first two tangible things of my mastership process.

I was actually quite nervous about the training. Probably because I had no idea of what to expect. Yes, they sent me a schedule, but I was still unsure of what to expect. I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to act or that I would make a mistake in front of all these high-ranking people and be embarrassed. I worried about this for a while, but then I decided that this was my one and only time to go through this and I didn’t want to spend it worrying, so I decided to just “go with the flow,” and be open to do whatever was asked of me. It turned out to be an enjoyable day of training and I learned a lot.

Everyone warned me that climbing the mountain would be difficult. I knew it wasn’t a climb in the sense of ropes and harnesses and such so I questioned how hard it could be if it was just a trail. Ha! It was hard. The trail was very loose like gravel and it was hard to get secure footing. It was also very steep. I found that I had to stop frequently to give my calf muscles a chance to recuperate. The way down was actually harder because of the steep incline and loose rocks. I think I mostly came down on my hands and knees and backside! And we got so lost! The trail wasn’t very well marked and I think we mistook vulture poo for the white dot markers of the trail!

But the view at the top was breath taking and it was a very surreal moment standing on top of the mountain that so many masters have climbed. Doing the traditional Songahm 1 in all 4 directions (trying not to fall off the mountain while doing Songahm 1….) and taking pictures with Grand Master and friends was an amazing experience.

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