They rise like sentinels in the night, stature straight and tall, mountain defenders and warriors, all-knowing, all-seeing, silent in their testimony of time, dark guardians, keepers of eternal secrets, witnesses to the earth’s geological wonders.
It is barely 6 AM, full moon eclipsing the need for our head lamp, and after a few mislead turns here and there, we find the slippery uphill, moraine promising two steps forward, one step back, and holy hell, I am hot, body steaming in the early morning chill.
Again, we marvel at the people determined to keep jackets closed and covered, sweat-soaked, certainly, in these petroleum shields, however breathable the technology promises.
We reach the top to find ginormous boulders, a moraine field on crack, and like marmots, we find a rock on which to perch ourselves, cold air no match for our optimistic idealism that of all the mornings in the world, this one is the one where the newly arrived fog does contrary to what it’s done every morning, meaning it moves along instead of suction-cupping itself to rock and mountain alike.
Come on, baby, we chant, blow this sucker out of the ballpark, for it was only a moment ago that the towers were clear as day, the perfect compliment to this turquoise lake.
By now, the chill sets in, going deep, and we attempt to counter the harsh reality of a socked-in cloud by hovering for cover under our perch, sleep sack doing little to shield us from the cold, goofy faces doing more to keep moral and body temperature high.
It’s almost 8 AM, and after over an hour of shivering like chattering skeletons, we admit defeat and pose with the phantom towers in the background, Frederic and Nick and Sam and Emma and Kat our faithful witnesses that even though you can’t really see it, yes, we were there.
And, on our way back down, sunrise coming through like the eye of god, we pass Spencer, he on his way for a hopeful trek up to see the towers, his timing off by just a mere couple of hours, a tragedy, really.
At least, we tell ourselves, we have a moment with them early morn and late night, lucky indeed.