We climb a mountain
25.10.2009 25 °C
I had just gotten settled. Well, as settled as anyone changing his life style 180 degrees from the past year could be.
Craig (my Scottish soccer-coaching volunteer of a roommate) and I were told by the sweet-voiced staff liaison Karly that we were going on a nice hike to see some waterfalls. That was her pitch and we bought in.
Karly orchestrated the Nissan SUV through the tiny, back alleys of Tepoztlan, gradually making our way up a tree covered path. We parked and embarked. Within 10 minutes, we were turned around and heading back in the same direction - we had gone the wrong way. Actually, I think this was all part of her plan. A distraction tactic. We passed a few others heading in a new direction and soon learned of the right path. But as rumor had it, there wasn’t much water running from the falls.
“Say guys, what do you think about climbing to the top of that peak over there?”
Craig and I took a look.
“You mean that one?”
“Yeah, it looks like you can go up right there!”
“I don’t know. I think it’s steeper than you think.”
Karly was all for giving it a go.
“Lets at least get to the base and check it out.”
There was no trail in sight. We hopped fences, navigated patches of corn stalks and hacked our way through head-high brush until we reached the base.
At first, we were just testing the rock, picking good grips and finding good foot holds. Next thing we knew, we were a 100 feet up and looking down.
This was about the time when Craig mentioned that he had never climbed a rock (of any sorts) in his life and that he might have a ‘we’ fear of heights. Perfect timing. We should have turned around then and made our way back down, but Craig said he would push on.
The rest of the climb was full of mumbled curse words and reminders to “not look down”. Karly led the plunge and once near the top, scouted for an alternate route down. No such luck.
In between pep talks and positive reinforcement spiels, I took in the scenery of the surrounding area. The rainy season was coming to a close, but its effects were still in full bloom. Spectacular.
Going down was a slow and grinding experience. I went first, looking for the best route and talking Craig down from above. One step at a time. It was a true team effort reaching solid, level ground again. At times, we glimpsed down, wondering just how exactly we got up that stretch in the first place.
No ropes, no special shoes and no common sense. Craig summed it up as “true madness”, and it probably was. I’ll have to admit that my heart was pumping pretty hard and my “What would Mom say?” beacon was blaring from start to finish, but we came out of it with a bit of dirt under our nails, a few leaves in our hair and smirks on our faces. Not a bad first bonding experience in this new home away from home. I can’t wait until next weekend!