Friday, June 15, 2007

When Climbing Vesuvius

...it's when your quadriceps and gluteus maximus muscles make their presence known. Wow, the first switchback is steep. Oh, my, the second switchback is even steeper. Huff, breathe easy and keep going.



...remember not to look up or you'll get discouraged to see how steep and how much farther you have to go.


Stop occasionally and look over the side railing. See how high you've come. Think: The volcano won't blow, the volcano won't blow, the volcano won't blow....at least until I'm off it.


The old crater...thank goodness for cloud cover while I'm climbing. How much farther to the new crater?


At last! Here's the new crater. Okay, when does the bus leave? We have 10 minutes. Time to descend.


How many switchbacks again? Careful with the knees, watch the scree, and stay away from crowds of teenage boys running down the path with flip-flops. Swing your arms and plant your heels first. Relax, and don't panic if you start sliding. Find a nice steady powerwalk pace and keep going. Breathe a sigh of relief when the bus is in view and the driver's not in his seat. Look up to the cone and think: Did I really climb to the top?

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