I like mountains…


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“I like mountains.” Only thing I said, when introducing myself in that mountaineering course. And now, 3.00 pm, here I am: in the middle of nowhere, nobody by my side, no one else knows where I am, absolutely wet on my feet, my hands are starting to tremble… A via ferrata, a narrow corridor: to the front a rock wall, on my back the vault… What on Earth was I thinking?… While focusing on my sideways steps [One step at the time: cat-step], a series of mixed pictures displays right before me, alternating between the clock and the events: 6.00 I woke up and decided to walk rather than take the train; 8.30 the image of the signpost Wanderweg (wander-way)… Minutes later the rain, my sole companion, that so far, it seems, will never clear up… Not even now, that I just don’t know how I ended up here… [Better stop, yes.] No, yes, I do know: it was the second signpost and its promise: Berg, Bergweg (mountain-way). The promise of mountains after two, three days in the Alps with thick cloud, thick fog. “Let’s go! Grindelwald is two-hour walking distance away from this point… Deviating a little makes no big difference.” [One cat-step] What was the time then, when I saw this last signpost? 11.00? Yes, eleven. And now, I think I’m not lost, the indications were clear enough: follow the strip-painted red and white marks… There’s one right in front of me, reminding me somehow… how I went up, (red-white signal) and up, (red-white signal) and up… [Another cat-step] And see no mountains, but fog, fog, fog… [Stop] And it’s so late already… “Time flies!” I told the tenant in the self-assured way I adopt whenever I feel the heavy hiking backpack on my shoulders… [Better stop for a while…] Eventually I could go down, (red-white signal) down, (red-white signal) down… Until… This time it was not a tree signaling imperiously to keep moving: quite perilous to stay there longer (12.20); it was not a herd of those unfriendly cows the farmers warned me of and I had to cross through in order not to lose my red-white clue (13.30). No, this time is this via ferrata with no equipment. [Ok, time to keep up. Breathe!] Of course my next striped signal is by the end of the narrow corridor… Enough! Focus! Another deep breath… I have to come back home safe. Focus and go… (Fog, slippery ground, slippery wall…) Ok, a step at the time, cat-step, cat-step, cat-step… Yes! I reached the end. (Relief.) But then I felt something on my back, as if someone grabbed my shoulder, urging me to turn, turn!… In front of me (at last!) my beloved mountains…

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This was an extry to a contest for travel writing (link here: not an experiment on literary writing as it turned out to be. Of course, I didn’t win but the process as usual was entertaining by itself. My brother suggested me to write a “dictionary” for some of the terms, such as “cat-step”, which indeed has a story behind it. Maybe one day. For now, I’m only posting this here to keep it as a record, and sort of to remember that without this mishap (i.e. not winning) I wouldn’t’ve gone to Canada and met the Beautiful BC, nor the magical Denman Island. As usual, everything has a good reason for being or not being…

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