Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sliding off a volcano.

It was decided to go on a walk today.
To hike along the Glass Creek River up into the mountains of the Inyo National Park.

Was it realized there are bears in the wilderness?

Yes, the thought came across.
Always optimistic and maybe over courageous and most of all rather megalomania a strategy was developed in case a bear happened to use the same trail as the afternoon’s hiker.
The plan was to go immediately behind a large tree and circle it synchronically with the bear.
Meanwhile picking up a sharp branch and at an adequate moment poke the bear in the eye.
Maybe then the other eye as well and one could walk away in peace.

The walk went on and on.
Hiking along the beautiful creek where delicate flowers were growing for us.

Eventually an enormous stonewall was reached.
The remnants of an eruption of a volcano.

This naïve thought came up that behind that wall of loose boulders would be a beautiful lake.
And the decision was made to climb that high and steep slope of loose stones and boulders.

This photographer is not specifically trained for mountain climbing.
The hiking boots helped but not the camera dangling around his neck.
It was fierce ambition and the desire to wish to reach a goal that created an almost violent insistency to need to conquer the difficult ascends.

Most stupidly, the thinking was so obsessed with climbing up, that not one second it was considered how to come back down.

The climb was cruel.
Up and up and up.
Sliding down, finding grip, hoisting up, slowly ascending.
To discover at the top that beyond were only more steep walls of stones…

No beautiful lake.
The imagination is often so wrong because it is fuelled by what we fantasize is the best for us.

There were just miles and miles of more steep hills of volcanic stones.
No option to go ahead.
It was realized that the only thing to do was to go back.
But then it was discovered that descending was very difficult and dangerous.
An effort was made but it was simply too steep.
It was impossible to see where to plant the shoes and too many boulders, stones and gravel were loose.
Trying to go down would certainly result in a dramatic fall with serious injuries.
And this was wilderness area.
When would a victim of an accident be found here?

The conclusion was that it was a fine mess one found itself in.
And it was realized that this bloody ambition of always having to go to extremes might one day result in falling over the edge.

Eventually it was decided to climb along the rim to see if at another place a descend would be more easy.
This was found and holding on to protruding large boulders slowly and carefully the slope was slided down.
Getting wounds on the hand palms of the sharp volcanic stones and a torturing of the bum well deserved.

A sigh of relief when returned to the path and looking up to the slope it was realized what a fool one had been to ever even consider to climb up there.

Exhausted and slightly shaken it looked best to hike back to the Fuso Szulc.
But when a path was seen going up into the mountains to new and mysterious destinations, the plan of returning changed immediately.


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