There in that golden jungle I walk alone.’ Judith Wright, The Sisters. This might as well be TheUltralightHikers’ motto as we march forward into the evenings of our lives, ‘bowed but unbroken’. A young friend (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-friend-i-met-on-the-dusky-track-fiordland-nz/) has invited me to come along with him on his (extended) Everest Base Camp hike in Nepal. This may seem like an insane thing for a man 2/3s of a century plus to be doing. I admit I had my druthers, but Della piped up perfunctorily with this epithet, ‘You only live once’. Remember that.
And this: People are crap at understanding risks/stats.You have to figure risk against probable loss. When you are young you have the probable loss of your entire life to lose (a large proportion), so you ought be more careful. When you are old like me, you have much less life to lose, so you can afford to take more risks! I know, you may think that the morsel of life left is nonetheless more precious because it is all you have left, (but whatever is all you have) and it would not be much of a life if you spent it propped in a wheelchair at some Old Peoples’ Home mumbling inanities and pooping yourself. The high passes, whatever their risks gleam much brighter than that prospect.
It is also like this. Yet another friend’s widow was last week condemned to just such a fate as I hinted above, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her husband having dropped like a stone from a cardiac a couple of years ago. ‘Live & learn or you don’t live long’ as the old saw goes.
‘Give Your Heart to the Hawks’ the old mountain men used to say. There is a solitary rapture about looking up at the seam where sky and mountain meld which makes one’s heart exalt! The peaks that loom everywhere along the Dudhkoshi River are more than awesome!