Haliburton resident reflects on adventure of a lifetime
By Angelica Ingram
May 24, 2016
Andrea Hagarty has a sign at her business that reads “adventure awaits.”
That sign has become her new life motto.
Last fall, Hagarty embarked on an unforgettable trip that took her to South America, where she climbed, literally, to new heights and saw things she will never forget.
The owner of Bonnie View Inn decided last summer to partake in the trip that spanned from Nov. 24 to Dec. 21 2015, when she thought she would no longer be at the helm of the inn.
Although that didn’t end up being the case, she went on the trip anyway and now has a thirst for more adventure.
“I’ve always been a big traveller, but never anything this extreme,” she said. “From when I was little I always wanted to climb a mountain.”
Hagarty travelled to Aconcagua, Argentina, the highest point of the famous Andes mountain range.
Prior to leaving for the trip, Hagarty began training for the endeavour, running every day to build up her stamina. At the end of September she received a list of the gear she needed to bring and was surprised by how much was required.
Thanks to friends in the community she was loaned a lot of the supplies.
Hagarty went on the trip with her partner, Johnny Waite, who encouraged her to push herself to new limits.
“When he first asked me to go I said no and then all the spots filled up,” she said.
After two group members dropped out, Hagarty didn’t let the opportunity pass by her again and she signed up.
By the end of the expedition the pair were married.
“We just figured ... if we could spend that much time together stuck in a tent that we might as well just get married,” Hagarty jokes.
The two were married by one of the members of their climbing group, who happened to be an officiant. The marriage was not something Hagarty was expecting when she signed up for the adventure.
The trip began in Chile, where the group prepared for the climb.
“We went up one side of the mountain and came down the other side,” said Hagarty. “It was definitely one of the hardest, scariest but most awesome thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Hagarty said surprisingly the trip wasn’t as stressful as running an inn, since it’s all you focus on for the entire duration of the trip.
Each day she found she was asking herself if she could go any further, due to the gruelling nature of the trip.
“Some days it was 100 kilometre an hour wind,” she said. “And it was so cold, it was the coldest thing I’ve ever done.”
Sleeping every night in a tent, the trip also requires you to carry 60 pound backpacks, which include supplies such as food.
Under the direction of a guide, the group had nine members, all of whom made it up and down the mountain.
“What we had learned is that a lot of groups will go up but partially the way up sometimes two or three people will quit and go back down,” said Hagarty. “So all nine of us came up and all nine of us came down, so it was really cool.”
During the trip Hagarty did hit some bumps, including two bouts of sickness.
The adventure concluded in Mendoza, a region in Argentina known for producing wine.
Hagarty would go on another trip in a heartbeat, however finances and life are preventing that from happening in the immediate future.
She hopes to do more travelling, this time with her kids in tow and would recommend the trip to anyone who was interested.
“I think it really pushed me more than I ever thought it would. When I came back I thought I can do anything now; I climbed a mountain,” said Hagarty.
The trip really opened up Hagarty’s eyes to the world and what is possible. She has kept in touch with the other climbers and is participating in an ultra marathon with some of them in California.
While Hagarty hopes to experience many more things in her life, for now she is keeping busy at the inn and awaiting to see what lies ahead.
“Above my desk I have a sign and it says adventure awaits, and honestly it gets me through each day.”