It’s Monday, again. Sigh.
I hope this short story serves as a breath of fresh air to energize and motivate you as you finish your java and take a few deep breaths before starting your week. It is the first part of a short story I had published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride.
From Thin Air
In December 2010, my then-boyfriend Dale and I flew to Ecuador for an eighteen-day backpacking trip. We were thrilled and terrified to be spending so many consecutive days together. Having a 2,200 mile long distance relationship did not allow us to spend much time together, and the short trips we had gone on so far had involved a few nights’ stay in comfortable hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Thus, our developing country backpacking compatibility was a scary unknown.
Our first three days revealed that we largely agreed upon the activities we wanted to do and the parts of the country we wanted to visit – hallelujah! So, on the fourth morning we set off to make reservations for a two-day mountain biking trip and a three-day jungle adventure. Being the consummate consumer that he is, Dale insisted on doing due diligence before purchasing either trip. That involved an arduous three hours of talking to different tour companies and strategically discussing our options. Finally, at one o’clock, we walked out of The Biking Dutchman, our second and final reservations having been made.
Next, we bought sandwiches and flagged down a taxi driver to take us to a gondola that we would ride to the 13,000 foot trail head of our 2,400 foot vertical climb for the day. The problem was, it was already two o’clock by the time we exited the gondola. The hike to the 15,400 foot peak was supposed to take three hours, and the sun would set at 6:12 p.m. Dale didn’t seem to be concerned about our situation. I, on the other hand, realized we couldn’t dilly-dally if we were going to reach our destination, which I fully intended to do. I had never been above 11,000 feet before, so this would be a momentous first for me.
Setting a quick pace, which likely wasn’t the wisest thing to do at that altitude since we were breathing forty percent less oxygen, we managed to reach the top by about 4:50 p.m., ten minutes shy of the forecasted three hours – score! However, we weren’t quite at the peak. Somewhere on a treacherous mound of rock there was allegely a path that would lead us up the last one hundred feet to the peak. After diligently searching for the path for a few minutes, I suggested that we give up and start our descent. Unwilling to admit defeat, Dale insisted on continuing the quest.
“Okay,” I said, “but we need to leave in ten minutes because a thick fog is rolling in, the temperature is dropping, the path is very hard to follow up here, and I don’t trust them to keep the gondola open after sunset.” Hastily agreeing to the somewhat prolonged search time, Dale continued to wander until finally I had to tell him it was time to go.
To be continued.
Here is the schedule for my upcoming posts. Stay tuned for the final part of From Thin Air.
Monday, 9/26: From Thin Air, the ending
Thursday, 10/6: Tip #8 in my series, Kids are Portable
Monday, 10/17: Peru – A high elevation vacation, Part II