I’ve Offended the Mountain

July 10, 10 am on the train from Torino to Aosta

“Where is the logic?” I’ve been asking myself these past couple of weeks.

First sight of Mont Blanc amidst lush green mountains

Ahhh, the madness that comes of fearing the unknown.

As I sit here on this train with rapid Alpine rivers rolling below me and lush green mountains towering above, I feel something I only rarely feel: I’m coming home.

And this makes me finally realize my true home is not an apartment building in the midst of an 18-million-manned concrete city.

My true home is Mother Nature with all I need neatly packed into my backpack.

July 10, 12pm

I now have the uncanny ability to distinguish hikers’ legs from joggers’ legs from swimmers’ legs.

Joggers have slim legs with beautifully sculpted thigh and calf muscles. Swimmers lack hips and their legs taper down from their hips as if they were fish tails. Hikers…hikers have tree logs for legs. And I’m in tree log territory.

The train arrived in Aosta at 10:45am and I was quite lucky to find the bus stop quickly, get a ticket and immediately hop onto the bus to Courmayeur, Italy.

The one hour drive was beautiful and I think I caught my first glimpse of Mont Blanc. I say think because the two people I asked on the bus thought it was Mont Blanc but couldn’t confirm. If it is Mont Blanc, I repeat what I’ve already said in previous posts: what the f#@! was I bloody thinking??

The White Mountain of pure rock looms ominously with its jagged edges and snow-topped glaciers over the very green and lush surrounding Alps.

I had been thinking all the way here what a pleasure it would be to hike through those forested mountains with cascading waterfalls.

But noooo. I had to choose the ONE mountain in the region with not a tree in sight. Quite an ugly mountain indeed. And I say ugly in the kindest sense of the word. One does not want to insult a mountain just as one prepares to climb it.

Diamox. I HATE it. It’s a diuretic (pee-inducing medication) mountain climbers take to help the prevention of altitude sickness.

I started taking it last night. I must have gotten up to go to the bathroom at least five times.

This morning I felt ill from it. I now think it was the reason for the hard time I had that first night on Kilimanjaro. I have the same nauseous feeling I had then and I feel weak.

I’ve been considering stopping it altogether. But what I think I’ll do is halve the dose I’m currently taking so that I’m taking only 1/4th a tablet twice a day. If I start feeling sick on the mountain, I’ll go back to half a tablet twice daily and see how it goes.

July 10, 4:45pm

I’ve arrived in Les Houches, Chamonix, where I’ll be based for the week. I’m in quite a charming little village town in a bed and breakfast sort of place. Four of my mountain

An offended mountain

climbing colleagues have arrived. My roommate is from Australia and there’s a couple from the UK who are living in Denmark. I haven’t been properly introduced to our fourth colleague yet.

The mountain seems to have heard that I called it ugly and it was clearly offended. I went to sleep immediately when I arrive and was awoken by a monstrous thunder storm. I ran to the balcony only to see a very angry mountain looming above me. Black clouds surrounded the mountain tops and rain was pouring down.

Mountain: I’m very, very sorry. You are quite beautiful in your awesome ugliness.

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