When I woke up and looked outside, my friend, pesky rain, was back and haunting me once again. Basically, there was a general mist in the air that would seem okay at first but before you knew it, you would be soaking to the bone. Oh the joy of water bits! Unfortunately, we were on somewhat of a schedule since My Aussie Mate needed to get back to work and so we were left with 2 choices. We either had to brave the elements and head out to Plitvice Lakes National Parks as intended or skip the National Park altogether. Since neither one of us was made out of sugar, we decided to go with the first option with a few alternations.
The alternation to the plan was going to be to pay to take the train and then walk downhill for the next 5 hours. Yes we were going to get a wee bit wet but dressed the best we could for the weather. Worse case scenario, we could back out half way through the walk and miss out on the lower lakes. Sadly, neither one of us factored in my 2 left feet into the equation and approximately 10 minutes in, I was on the ground eating dirt. I would like to say it was because I was going downhill on stairs or there was a big rock that got in my way or that the damn rain made everything super slippery but that would be a lie. The truth was that my left foot got in the way of my right foot on a flat even surface and I fell hard. My Aussie Mate kept bursting into fits of laughter while asking how the hell I could have possibly tripped as I lied there with my left leg bleeding and my right ankle swelling out of control. To make matters worse, I was pretty sure that a girl wearing the equivalent of heels on the trail stepped over me and kept on going. THE HORROR…THE SHAME!
As My Aussie Mate helped me over to a nearby bench, it became apparent that I had a nasty sprain to deal with and no idea how the hell the two of us were going to make it out of the woods (the mind instantly wanders to Blair Witch Project…). The options we could think of were to turn around and walk uphill back to the train or keep going downhill until we could find a way out. As we opted for downhill but before setting out, I would need to find a way to be slightly more mobile. All I could think of was to pull out the spare socks in my bag and try to secure my ankle with them while My Aussie Mate hunted around for a stick that I could use as a cane. In the end, I used My Aussie Mate as my crutch and she used the stick in order to balance herself and we set off on the rest of the 5 hour downhill journey looking as special as ever.
Despite the pain, the swelling, and the constant breaks to elevate my ankle, we managed to snap a few photos, do some skillful photobombing, and general keep up with the slower people who set off at the same time as we did. I’m not going to lie – it hurt and I knew that with every step, I was increasing my recovery time but it wasn’t like I could sit on a park bench and wait for some foreign park ranger to come rescue me so I kept hobbling on. All in all, I have no regrets opting to go to the park but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t see the full beauty of it either in my condition. Oh well – maybe they’ll be a next time…