Traversing and Conversing

2 09 2008

 

I finally did something over Labor Day weekend that enabled me to answer related inquires to a much more satisfactory degree. 

 

Specifically, I went on another backpacking trip and climbed another mountain. 

 

Photo taken from 11,000 feet.

Photo taken from 11,000 feet.

 

I’ll be honest: I didn’t exactly shine. At 13,891 feet, Mount Agassiz doesn’t exactly welcome you to its summit. The weekend also greeted us with winds that various travelers described in the 40-50 mph range. Combine that with the cold front and the elevation, and you have yourself a veritably miserable experience. My throat still faintly cringes when I breathe deeply, reminding the rest of my aching body how hard I pushed it over the weekend. As I was trailing everyone on the way down the mountain, my ragged breathing pained my pride as much as it did my heart. (my real heart, not my <B heart. Is that even an accepted emoticon?) I had done a bit of extra work to prepare myself for the weekend, but I realized even before I made it to the top just how inadequate my conditioning was for long hikes over 2.5 miles above the sea. 

I felt better after Daniel threw up, though. Even more so after Thatcher dry-heaved during the night. That was after I pleaded with him not to leave the tent in the middle of the night because I was convinced that an animal was waiting for him outside. The wind was bad.

Pictures are somewhere, sometime. Stories are many. For instance, we spent much of Saturday (after waking up at 3 a.m.) walking around Lone Pine while Thatcher’s oil pan got patched. Mount Tyndall (or Williamson or something else) really didn’t want us to come. So, we instead got to camp (free of charge) at a nice site near the trailhead to Bishop Pass while the nearby families welcomed us to their yearly gathering with loads of food and conversation before we settled in for the night. Until I got woken up by the aforementioned wind wrapping the side of the tent completely around my sleeping bag. 

I’ll give each traveler a sentence of praise, for posterity’s sake.

Kerry, who withstood the weekend with more fortitude and grace than perhaps any of us, drove the car home after Thatcher, Daniel and I all pled weakness and fatigue

Laura, who was on her third serious hike in as many weeks, happily cooked dinner for all of us Sunday night, as Daniel and Thatcher could do nothing but lie down while I stumbled around (literally) in a haze of dehydrated sickness.

Daniel’s encouragement and sympathy, despite our mutual incapacitation, helped me get down the mountain despite ailing lungs and weakening will, while his example inspired me to do likewise and get a huge ice cream cone on the way home. 

Thatcher led us all where we needed to go and kept a surprisingly cheerful temperament in spite of his sickness that inspired all of us to get a lot farther than we ever would have gotten ourselves.

Robert didn’t really sleep at all for three nights in a row, but successfully annoyed Daniel during the trip home by covertly swatting his head with the sun visor for over half an hour. 

Dulce Domum indeed.

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