Climbing the Mountain.

I went through several mindsets as we set off up Mt. Monadnock (which makes me think of Gonads-knocking – another line of thought I would pursue on this hike)Sunday morning.

It all started when I had people over on Saturday night and we got happy. Then some of us got twisted.
All in all it was a fun night; lots of laughter and camaraderie.  As Mama Hen, I waved off some, tucked in some, and cleaned the puke off the carpet- courtesy my dearest brother.  After tucking the couch campers with pillows and blankets, cleaning most of the rubbish off the coffee table I went to my room.

230am. The logical thing to do would be sleep. But in my comfortably inebriated state I pick up the guitar. (I’ve been learning for 2 weeks now, and I can play 2 songs!) I sounded amazing. Of course it might be the previously mentioned state I was in, but I kept finding new songs and being amazing at them.  After 30-20mins of jamming, I tucked myself into the cool fresh sheets of my bed. And the lights were off. 3am.

8am. BANG! BANG! BANG! ::pause::  BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! ::pause:: BANG! BANG! BANG! Oh.god.please.stop.

When I walk out into the living room, I see Malli bent in two one hand holding his head trying to find the lock to the door. I push him back onto the couch and open the door for Chatu. He comes in; I tell him I doubt any of us are going. He says he’ll come back in half an hour to pick us up.
Back to bed. Wide awake. Shit. Strangle not hung over. I realize if I don’t go (now that I’m awake) I’ll just regret it when they get back. So I start getting dressed. 20 minutes later…
BANG! BANG! BANG! This time I’m ready.  Savi is here to pick me up. Malli is trying to get off the couch, but he can barely move. He asks for the address and says he’ll follow us in a bit.

2 and a half hours later we’re at Mt. Monadnock State Park. So far it doesn’t look bad. When we get off the car I realize I wore my city-girl-butt-shaping sneakers. BAD MOVE. But what the hell, we’re here.  We hang around a few minutes, but then realize the rest of our group we’ll catch up.

Oh. My. Fucking. God. It was nothing I expected. We’re not even 10 minutes in, and I start thinking “I can’t believe how hard this is. I can’t believe how hard this is for me. I can’t believe how fat I am. I can’t believe how hard this is. I can’t believe I’m so unfit. I can’t believe how fucking hard this is…” Once there was talk of turning back. But we came all the way. Why turn back now?

“Slow and Steady,” I kept saying.  “Slow and Steady” was my mantra.  Scraped my knee. No big deal. Everyone was so supportive. And patient.  God, I felt terrible.  Low self-esteem meets loneliness- on a steep-as-hell mountain.  Jesus Christ.

At my feet are rocks; Big ones, small ones. They make putting your foot anywhere a risk. The air was warm, but not hot, with an occasional (and welcome) breeze.  Around me people are huffing and puffing.  Huffing and puffing just like me.  Suddenly I look up-HOLY.SHIT. The mountain rises up into a steep 85 degree incline. Mostly consisting of a rock wall.  I look at Chatu- I must have looked quite pathetic because he says, “Come on Pavi! You can do it.” Then I hear echoes from above “Come on Pavi!” I smile and wave and sit down.  Breath, sip of water. “Slow and Steady.”

I start the ascent. It’s like being on all fours- but you’re still vertical. Pushing with your legs, pulling with your arms; grabbing trees, and branches and other rocks to hoist yourself up. Slowly. Steadily.
This is what it was like all the way to the top.

The First Top.

The rush of being close to the top surges through me, and heaves me up at a faster pace. I know it’s the top because when I look up now, instead of seeing the thick coverage of trees, I see Sky. Bright blue summer sky. I’m elated.  The last bit is a rock face. People are crawling or looking for paths along the side of it. I find myself much more agile and less clumsy on the face of the rock.  I smile.  I’m doing it; I’ve done it.

When we reach the top its magnificent. Ocean of green and trees, and the wild expanse of New Hampshire. All the way to the southern horizon all we see is undulating ocean of green. Not the bright tropical green, and the murky brown waters of Sri Lanka. The deep Forrest green and black glassy waters of the lakes of New England.  The contrast of bright blue sky to the earth is amazing. The white rock beneath my feet is emanating and absorbing the heat of the sun. I’m happy. Proud.

But then I look back at the mountain. This isn’t the top. This is the first top. As I look back at the mountain there is a 2nd and a 3rd level to this top. So after playing the part of photographer-for-double-date (which sounds and makes me feel so much better than 5th wheel) we keep climbing. The rush starts to leave me, and the 4 ½ hours of sleep is catching up fast. We get to level two.

Looking out all I see is rock. But there on the edge sits a man. So still. He is meditating.  Despite the chatter of the hundreds of people walking by him, he is at peace. I sit down close by for a rest, tell my cousins I’ll catch up. (I’m honestly a little tired of playing the “Fifth wheel/photographer on a double date”) I lie in the shade at the top of the mountain- and I take a solid nap.

 

When I wake up the scenery is much the same.  Waves of people going up and coming down. Then I see him. Brown skin glistening in the sun. Not-overly sculpted arms, and untidy but short dark hair. Shirtless.  He looks at me. Piercing blue eyes (my most terrible weakness) and those set in healthy caramel skin. Roman features with a straight long nose and strong jawline. “Did you have a good nap?” he hollers. I smile. As I stretch I realize my cousins and loved ones are probably still trudging up to the top of the top of this mountain. I look down to where Brown-skin-blue –eyes disappeared into the trail.

Without further thought I start the descent. White Cross Trail- Least steep descent. That sounds nice. Nicer. It’s not. My ankle keeps twisting. The rocks are never ending, and my toes and knees are killing me. I’ve always noticed, when you go somewhere, the return always seems faster. Not this time.
Just when you think its getting flatter, there is another 85degree descent. To be fair, there was less “rock face” and more “rocks and space” but it was straight down. Miss one step and you’ll probably roll to your death.  I keep going.

Finished my water on the way up. It’s dry, and hot and I’m parched.  Finally I ask a neighbouring Huff and her companion Puff whether they had any water to spare. I must use this “I’m pathetic” face more often  because they gave me an entire bottle. I gulped it down.

“ Human’s are the only beings on this planet who would climb a mountain just to get to the top- and then call it entertainment,” I say.  We share a laugh.

Down we go.

When we finally reach the bottom of the mountain i can hear a collective sigh of relief. I wondered about the millions and trillions of swears and curses stuck in the Forrest, and that some of the breezes were just sighs and proclamations by people who climbed before us.

A few hours later, i’m showered, sore and comfortable on the couch. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and to my surprise an apparently human need to try it again. I seem to have forgotten the aches, pains, swears, frustration, low self-esteem, loneliness, huffing and puffin. All i remember is the elation of being at the top and the pride in my voice as i begin my story, “I climbed a mountain this weekend…”

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