Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our group sets off with tremendous good spirit. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Eric and all his Trekkies experience finding local guides, making endless arrangements, matching up the loose ends of people’s different itineraries. Our guides are charming, helpful, know the way down to every slope and spree, and are eternally optimistic about the time each climb will take us.

We cover an age range of 60 years from Mossy and Rachel to Wynne whose stamina and slow but steady progress are an inspiration to us all. (If we could only manage like that when reach 75, the rest of all think).

The climbing is arduous and the descents have ropey moments (literally and figuratively). “We came to remember something painful and painful it has been” I overhear someone say, but with good humour.

What stirring moments. At some of the steepest places, and there are several with drops of dozens or even hundreds of feet, little more than a ledge away, I determinedly don’t look down but study the wild flowers at my feet.

The flowers are magnificent. Blue trumpet gentians in profusion together with the smaller, daintier spring gentians. After lunch we stand on the ridge at 2,600m astride the border so many longed to reach.

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