Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Me > Nature

Made it to the top of Toubkal this time (see: previous failure). Apparently it’s easier to ascend things when they aren’t covered in ice. So, yeah; I’m pretty pleased.

The second day was exhausting – almost 4 hours straight up from the refuge, and then another 8 spent in various stages of semi-controlled falling back to the base. I made it back to Casablanca late that night and needed to brace myself against the handrails to make it up the stairs to my apartment. My knees feel like they were on the wrong side of a mobster gambling debt. Despite all that, I’d chalk this one up as a resounding success.

I ended up going with two backpackers I met on Saturday. Anthony was going to come, but anorexic girls aren’t allowed on the trail (some kind of liability thing). The backpackers – Mike and Bryan - were both in good shape though and we managed to harass one another into making fairly good time up the mountain. So aside from a lot of exhausted/awe-struck cursing, there wasn’t a whole lot of drama.

Actually... The mountain did try to murder us once. We were traversing a scree (loose rocks) field on the way down from the summit and two big rocks broke off a cliff above us. Pretty horrific timing to say the least, as Mike, Andy (a British guy we met) and I were all directly below them. One of the rocks ricocheted off to the side, but the second – a little smaller than a beach ball – came right for us. Seeing a rock that probably weighed 150 pounds bouncing six feet in the air and moving faster than a car barrelling down at you is disconcerting to say the least. Andy handled it best, in exceptionally English fashion:

“Heads up, lads.”

It was difficult to judge the rock’s path, so we were all stuck, standing in place, waiting for the last minute to gauge whether evasive action was necessary. Luckily, it bounced about four feet wide of Andy’s chest and fell harmlessly down a cliff.

So you had your shot, Nature. Had your shot and you missed.


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