Friday, January 06, 2006

"Quite a morning up here!"

My god, it was rough on Green Mountain this morning. And I have seen my fair share of extreme conditions up there. I didn’t check the weather when I left but instead made the rookie mistake of dressing for how cold I have felt the last couple of days. I go through periods of time when I just can’t get warm. I don’t have the excuse of being thin and slight. I am strong and muscular with enough fat that you would think I could generate plenty of my own heat (I guess that is another story!). I wore three layers and by the top of the steep section, I was already feeling overdressed. At one point as I approached the tower, I had an overwhelming sense of calm. It was warm, there was no wind and I was feeling good. Tomorrow is my second snowshoe race and in my competition with myself, I am losing ground. But this morning I was able to visualize making the trip and putting effort into the race even if I don’t reach my goal of finishing in the top three for my age class. My other philosophy speaks out: don’t give up; don’t let failure be your excuse for quitting. I still want the experience of being in a 5K-snowshoe race – even if I walk the whole distance!

Within minutes of passing the tower, the winds picked up to a mileage that had me leaning into it to stay upright and squinting my eyes to keep out the blowing sand and grit. The colors were beautiful but trying to set the tripod up was challenging. The wind was so loud, at one point I looked around for a semi – thinking there might be one driving the maintenance road to the tower. At the top, it was just too windy to try and photograph. Even if I could set the camera up, I couldn’t open my eyes enough to compose the image. The wind picked up my eyeglasses case and sent it hurling down the mountain. I looked for it but it was gone. I tried sitting on my rock to meditate but all I could do was wipe the grit from my eyes and try to stagger back down the mountain. The way back was a little easier because the wind was behind me. At times it felt as if someone was picking me up by my backpack and setting me a foot or two ahead. When I got back to the tower, I reached up to adjust my green scarf and to my horror, it was not there. I was in a panic. You are probably thinking I am nuts to be so attached to a neck scarf but this soft green knitted scarf had been with me on so many adventures and has kept me warm and protected more times than I can count. It is truly my security blanket. Sometimes even when it is not that cold, I wear it simply because it makes me feel good. So I turned around, back towards the top of the mountain and began my search, back into the wind. I retraced my steps including all of the little detours off the trail that I take as I look at things. As I neared the top, I was surprised to see three large public service vehicles slowly making their way to the tower – maybe I had heard them coming before they came! I went all the way back to the top and headed home again with no scarf in hand. I was beginning to make peace with the loss when retracing the last of my detours, there it was – beautiful green scarf draped across the windblown grass. I tied it securely around my neck and headed home for the last time. I was passed by an older runner in shorts who said, it’s quite a morning up here, isn’t it. All I could think of to say was Indeed!

Just call me an experience junky.
There are worse things to be addicted to than hiking Green Mountain.


At 5:44 PM, Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Hard trek. Great photo.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Glad you got your scarf back! Enjoy reading about the hikes and things, I am no longer made of the stuff it takes to do that, especially in the cold (central Texas sissy).


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