July 7, 2006 Friday
We went hiking and climbing today in northern Sardinia. Our usual group, mainly consisting of Ginty and Cliff, were in the mood for the walk through the outdoors, and eagerly singed up a trek along the island coast. We had not gone far before we were handed climbing gear: harnesses, clamps, and special shoes. We suddenly realized we were in for much more. Our guide, in turns out, was a world-class mountain climber, and had taken us all under his wing for the day to impart his wisdom.
Soon we came upon what looked like a collapsed city, a large scattered collection of collapsed stone formation the seemed like pieces of buildings, seemed to be in our way. We had no choice but to make our way across the decimated gray valley, scooting, falling, steadying, and leaping our way between gaps and chasms of rock. It was not until we reach a beach, populated by true cast-off Bohemians, living in a blue pup tent and getting a tan as their employment. With these castoff extras from Castaway watching us from far below, we came upon a formation of Earth reminiscent of the classic Star Trek episode “The Arena,” in which Captain Kirk fought a man in a rubber Gorn suit. And I will remind you I am from Illinois, literally named the Prairie State.
Somehow each of us made our way up to a ledge a mere 25 feet from the base. On the way up this first segment my right climbing shoe slipped off, to careen into a deep crack in the mountain. Great. When I reached the first level, I sat looking out over the crisp sparkling Mediterranean and hazy Corsica beyond. I took in the azure shy, the birds, and the salt air. I am going to die today, I told myself.
The other hearty sailors around me were of the similar mind. Yet we looked over our shoulder, the vertical, slightly slanting mass before us, that seemed hundreds of feel tall. Three attempted the climb, making their way up the single rut that ran vertically up the entire face. They were so small and far away to us, we the ones still at effectively the starting gate. We debated what it would take for us to do the same, although we realized the only other option was to be left behind. Yet our attention was drawn back the climbers as they reached the very peak, seemingly now on par with the full, pure whites clouds. They were speaking to each other, peering over the side. And then, to our amazement, our completely novice few fellow sailors had to made their way back down their original route. Slowly, with the aid of eyes in their feet, they reached us after a great passing of time. Our guide was pleased with his suddenly quite experienced companions that has joined him. However, he had to apologize to the rest of us that there simply was no way down the other side of the cliff.
The day was not what we expected, but I will always remember it. My legs were a wonderful bloody mess at the end, which I got a picture of, but it is an experience I am proud. It lasted all of the day until almost everyone was sunburned, and then we returned, hungry, the town Palau for a great dinner.