My hand clenched the rock as I scaled the side of the hill. My wrist pulsing with pain, and the sinking bog just below me. I looked to my right to see the reassurance of my adventuremates, and leaped towards solid ground beyond the sinking earth. Adrenaline was elevated as we trekked through the elements along the cliffs of Iona. Seven of us followed the guide, but discovered too late the danger of the elements that led to panicked hearts and untrustworthy feelings toward the guide. The dynamics of the group began to shift as the hike moved from an easy walk to survival mode. Everyone became protective and would lead the next person to safe ground. I trailed behind the group and made calculated moves and jumps to avoid the sinking earth. The hills rose and fell to meet the edge of the sea around me. After leaping across many bogs, jumping quickly across uneasy ground, and guiding one another across the plains, we arrived at a beach covered in dead kelp and uneven rocks. Our guide wandered toward the large boulders that blocked any path to a different part of the beach. After exclaiming expletives, we chose to turn around. Once again we guided one another, and checked on everyone as the path to return home became uncertain. Each direction was a mass of land. The town was nowhere in sight. We assessed the supplies we all had. Enough food to last until the next day, rain slicks to cover us, but with the unfortunate reality of water logged shoes and mud covered pants. We wandered a ways, leaping over bogs and trekking over prickly brush, only to see the guide up ahead of us. His leg bleeding from scratching it along the rocks. Expletives were exchanged once again to express the frustration of this unexpected adventure. However, we looked to our right to notice the positive in the situation. The coast line of the island was beautiful. And what better adventure to have than with people who are no longer just peers, but friends and adventuremates. Even if I tripped and lost my balance to the bog, these people had my back. And that was enough to calm my heart beyond the adrenaline pulsing through my system. I have battled many types of elements, but sinking ground is unfamiliar to me. The terrain covered in mountain grass hid soft ground, and at points I stepped forward to find my foot twisting with the side of the hill. One wrong move could of sent any of us tumbling. One after another we followed footsteps to safety of the view of the town below. We made it back luckily with only soiled shoes, wet pants, and a strong bond formed. The Fellowship of Iona. Each of us watching out for one another and assessing the ground before letting the next person cross to safe ground. Rachel, Emily, Karina, Lyle, Max, Zander, and I created a fellowship that looked after one another and guided everyone through the elements. As familiar ground was reached, we all sighed in relief and laughed off the stress of the situation that heightened our emotions.
Emily and I calmed our hearts by walking along the beach next to the hostel. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to the waves crash against the rocks. The familiarity of the sound was comforting. The view was incredible as I opened my eyes to look across the shoreline. The water a brilliant blue that stretched for miles. The shore shifted into fields of grass that were speckled with sheep and cows. Despite the unexpected events of the day, I let the moment fill my mind with new understanding, a good story to share, and bonding of The Fellowship of Iona. As the evening faded to night we enjoyed lounging, laughing, and sharing stories in the homey hostel by the edge of the sea.