When the sun is not blinding me over the edge of Mount Moneen, I can discern softer specks moving in the distance. Mostly rather close together, but there is also the occasional maverick. They seem to be hoofing across sheer stone. What can be so appetizing that they heave themselves all the way up to the summit?
Yesterday we crossed the spring green meadow and dipped into a whitethorn valley. As the long sharp thorns prevent passage we had to follow stamped out cattle paths that only too often converged into mud flooded corridors.
We met a thorn trimmed stone wall that forced us along for a breach. We crouched under branches and stumbled over blackberry tackles until we could finally bail out.
The green dramatically reduced and mixed with the rusty brown of fern waste. Instead chaotic rubble of limestone shingle had piled upon the lower slope of the mountain.
Walking on loose stone is pretty tricky, so we tried to get foothold on as often a larger rock as our feet could find.
Verena, whose heart lives in the mountains, seemed to defy gravity by winging up in weightless strides. I did not give in to my competitive instinct, advised so by the beating of my heart. Instead I took time to turn around and combined easing my breath with enjoying an ever more stunning view.
Some gigantic, rough rounded boulders we saw, forlorn off the path of a glacier.
When we had left the rubble under us we got a close up of the grit of the mountain. Wind and rain had cut their versatile fantasy into outlandish splendor. Similarity in shape suggests systematic origin and allures one's fancy to concoct a grasp.
The mountain stepped up in steeper paces. We did not bother to look for cattle trails but took them on by hand and foot. Each new level rewarded us with surprises. There were cozy sheltered coves, with grass and even flowers still and crowned by sturdy trees. Or there were banks, flat and polished by the wind and separated by deep troughs.
The wind had changed from a friendly pat on the shoulders to an unceasing cut in the cheeks. We were not even close to the summit and the sun was less than two hours from the horizon. We settled our ambition there and made for our descent. It sure is less strenuous to go down, but it is also more dangerous. When going up, the eyes go first and feet have just to follow. But going down, the feet must find their own path, inadequately supported by eyesight. Particularly the rubble slope had a few hidden frights. When I stepped upon a large flat tile, it slid loose and had me surfing for a second. We got down safe eventually and savored the light glow of the setting sun.
There is a funny balance between hunger and taste. I still can't make out if these are gourmet cows or if they are plain hungry.