Seat Of The Gods

Mountain Climbing
Mt. Teewinot

Up early the next morning, the frost covered the ground. The three
of us walked around Lake Jenny and then we stood at the foot of the
mountain, trying to decide which of our lines of sight would produce
the easiest climb. None of us had climbed a mountain before. Half
way up the mountain, the cold had turned to hot, and we had our
jackets tied around our waists. From the bottom what appeared as
merely darker shades of green were really large and sometimes
impassable moguls and ravines.

Not yet at our destination, we realized the dimensions of the task
we had set for ourselves. John was the only one wearing boots. I was
wearing tennis shoes, and poor Tom was climbing in sandals. We were
almost out of drinking water and we still couldn’t see that part of
the mountain that we singled out as our goal. For all our sweat and
hard work, though, we were compensated with a beautiful view of the
Snake River winding through the open prairies beneath us. The
pungent smell of pine was everywhere also, and off in the distance
we could see yet another lake and mountain range. The view for John
and Tom was reward enough for climbing this mountain, but I wanted
to go higher, so they reluctantly followed.

On the mountain we ran into a Bull elk, deer, and lots of rabbits.
By the time we reached the snow line John was done in. The
excitement of running into the Bull elk reinvigorated Tom though. We
told John we would look for him on the way down the mountain. The
climbing got even tougher after that, but at least now we could see
the plateau that we had marked as our goal. Pointing out the finish
line, I tried to encourage Tom to climb higher, but there was no
convincing him. If it weren’t for being able to see the end of the
climb, I would have quit to. Not far from where I left Tom, the
incline increased dramatically. As I approached the plateau, I was
climbing on all fours, and before I was done, I was climbing hand
over hand. On the plateau, probably 7/8’s the way up the mountain, I
had reached my goal. Above me, was a vertical rock face only meant
for climbers with ropes and pitons.

I walked around the shelf, and then sat down with my feet dangling
over an immense fissure. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings
I encountered. All I can say is that I know now why the Greek’s
called Mt. Olympus the “Seat of the Gods.” The sun was shining, but
there was still a chill in the air. When I finally did get moving,
it was like being on top of a pyramid. A little movement provided a
totally different view of the mountain and countryside below. I
walked back across the rock shelf and began my decent.

Climbing down, I intentionally slid on my ass. It was the fastest
way I have ever found to wear out a pair of blue jeans. About half
way down, I found Tom playing around large dirt slides. As we met, a
large Bull Moose snorted his way out from behind a large rock next
to a thick forest. All of a sudden we found ourselves staring down a
huge moose standing no more than thirty yards away. We were
petrified; we had no place to run. Only broken pieces of shale
separated the moose from us. The huge animal took one step toward
Tom and then turned and snorted his way deeper into the forest. We
were moving pretty fast when Tom almost stepped on a porcupine. We
were almost down the mountain when we ran into John. It took us all
day to climb the mountain, but only a few hours to get to the bottom.

Our hurried decent didn’t come cheap. My feet were in sorry shape,
and I lost my wallet somewhere on the mountain. I became sick to my
stomach. All my money, $112 lost, my identification lost. Getting
caught hitchhiking without ID meant jail. That night I couldn’t
sleep; my only option was to climb back up the mountain and look for
my wallet. I couldn’t believe that after going through so much
already on this trip that it had come to this. It was a hopeless
situation, but I had to at least try.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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