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Part 3: The final installment of my hiking adventure
By the time I had walked, skidded and hiked for a good hour, I decided that I had long ago reached the point of no return and so struggled toward the periodically faint signs of vehicular movement.
Eventually sensing incrementally louder engine noise and spotting what may have been a path, which disconcertingly vanished after a short time, I blazed my own trail, plunged through a thicket and stumbled steeply ahead on rough terrain.
Since you are reading this post, you have by now surmised that I found the road miraculously in sight of that ticket hut, sweaty, grimy, somewhat bloodied and extremely thirsty, my sneakers (!) a bit worse for the war. There, I learned that the hike beyond is supposed to take two and a half hours up and one and a half hours down.
Dare I? Well, why should a rational decision be mine?
Up I went, clambering along an impossibly precipitous and rugged trail strewn with sharp rocks, fallen trees and slippery earth. Some distance from the crest, the path amounted to what must be barriers meant to retain the earth. To me, they were a many meters long series of stairs that are double and even triple the height of a normal riser.
When I reached a high elevation, where to my dismay those “stairs” predominate, I found myself panting every few steps and wondering how I could be that much out of shape. I realized only in retrospect that, in no small part, it must have been the altitude, about which effects I had forgotten.
But I made it to the peak, where I snacked on a version of pizza in my backpack, had my photo taken by the few others resting there and headed down. When I reached the ticket hut at the edge of the road beside it, reason prevailed for the first time that day.
I chose the road not taken, the road that went down. Even that route took an hour, and I never did glimpse the trail that I was supposed to follow originally despite my determined effort to find it.