My botanic’s teacher organized once an outing with all her University students to climb the Acher’s Castle, a mountain in the Pyrenees. We had to collect specimens for a herbarium before the vegetation disappeared because of the altitude, and continue to the rocky top.
I was then emerging from a period of five years of inactivity because I suffered a surgery to remove a tumor from my tibia and recompose my twisted ankle. It was my first escapade since that dreadful day in the operation room. The Mountain was pretty challenging to climb, and my friends told me that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to choose that outing as my first experience after all that time. But I decided to go with the group anyway. I love adventures.
With my ankle well protected and everything ready, I began the outing with the determination to reach the top of the Acher’s Castle no matter what. Our teacher put seasoned climbers opening and closing the expedition. We, the ordinary people, were in between. I began to walk through the forest with the first group of hikers and reached the top with the last group, but I did it!
They said that the view from up there was magnificent, but when I arrived, a big cloud approached very fast. The climber who closed the expedition told us:
-Fog! We have to go down now. You see where the bus is?
It was barely a white point sunk down there in a forest clearing.
-OK, forget the way we took when we went up. Think in a straight line between us and the bus and go running down.
He taught us to jump with our knees bent and our feet sideways down the slope. I learned fast and began to run my way down while two of them had to carry a girl who had caught the altitude sickness.
We ran chased by the fog, first through the rocks, then crossing a steep grassy slope, to enter into the woods, and in our dizzying escape, we won over the fog.
When we arrived at the bus, some had begun the descent before us, still wandering through the already foggy forest. My knees trembled like jelly. My lungs were plenty of fresh air. I had made in 45 minutes the way down of a mountain I had spent almost 6 hours to climb. Incredible. As soon as I recovered my breath, I began to laugh. Happy. I had found a wonderful new feeling. The Mountain and I