Monday, June 2, 2008

Climbing a mountain (and golf)

Tuesday morning, my little brother, Jake, and I went to an hour-long golf lesson on the full swing. I got to touch a 3-iron, but no golf balls, and no full swings were taken. It was just a guy talking about golf grips and hip movement. Not very exciting.

To liven up the day, Jake and I decided to climb the mountain behind our resort. I didn't have a whole lot to wear with me, so I chose shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It was a bit hot out, so I thought I was well prepared. The movies never prepared me for climbing a real southern-California mountain, though. The steepness, the rocks, the loose dirt, those aren't the problem. The problem is plants. Burrs. Pokey things. Thorns. Surprisingly, even though there was always a bee within a couple feet of me, I wasn't stung at all. But, I was still left with plenty of cuts and scrapes.

Getting up the mountain took about 2.5 hours and was a lot of fun. I'm a little bit afraid of heights, but I found that I could control that - sometimes with an effort of will (DC 10). Often, I would be in an uncomfortable position with one foot tenuously perched on a small toehold a few feet away from my other foot. I wouldn't be at all comfortable with staying still or moving forward, but invariably, once I threw my weight toward that foot, it supported me and launching up to the next resting point was easy. I'm sure there's a life lesson in there somewhere, but at the moment, I'm just happy to know that I can climb a mountain as long as it's not too steep or too tall.

There was a road to the left of the mountain as we climbed up. It was our plan to take that back down. Unfortunately, getting from the very top back to the road (maybe 100 vertical feet down after ~1000 feet up) took a full 2 hours. There was a solid covering of thick bushes on that side and we had to tear them apart with our feet and hands. It was very slow going, not at all helped by our encounter with a rattlesnake and what Jake said was a sand boa. We got down without getting bitten, and without too much other trouble. It was just slow going - and after we were already tired and thirsty from our climb.

Even including all that, I had fun that day and would recommend climbing a mountain at some point. I suppose it gave me a bit of confidence or something.

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