Friday, November 9, 2012

Sea to Summit

Yesterday I wrote of how I ascended the second highest sea cliffs in the World.  Today, however, we were in La Palma and once again I went for a run.  Although yesterday's run was fairly intense, today's run made it look like a walk in the park.  Yesterday I ran a hill, today I ran a MOUNTAIN.  

Upon stepping off the ship this morning I clicked the start button on my watch and set out in search of higher ground.  A few minutes later I was winding upwards out of town and into the hills.  Much to my delight I stumbled upon a trail marker for Pico de la Nieve.  I did not know exactly what Pico de la Nieve was or how high it was.  I simply assumed it was a mountain and I set off in search of the top.  Well, 7,354 ft. later I got my answer.  

What I learned is that La Nieve is a fantastic mountain (elevation 7,354 ft.)that lies far above the sea.  Getting there, however, was no easy task.  It took me 2hrs and 53 minutes to get from the ship to the top of Nieve.  Much of the route was incredibly steep.  As I pushed towards the summit my legs grew tired, my stride shortened, the air grew cool (at one point I could see my breath) and thin, and my brain screamed for me to rest.  Nonetheless I pushed onward (and upward).  

Upon reaching the top I was rewarded with a magnificent view.  The landscape in La Palma reminded me a lot of Colorado.  I like to think of it as a tropical Colorado.  Hopefully the pictures I am including can help you to understand the sheer beauty of the land.  While at the top of Nieve I met a couple from Switzerland.  Perhaps they noticed that I was a bit fatigued as they kindly offered me food and water.  A very gracious man, my new found friend pulled several goodies from his pack for me to consume.  First water, followed by dried fruit, then more water, and finally both bread and chocolate.  Very grateful for his generosity, I bid he and his wife goodbye and headed back down the mountain, chocolate and bread in hand.

Fortunately, the descent went much faster than the ascent and I returned to the ship in just under 5 hours.  Upon reaching sea level I immediately started buying all sort of oranges and fruit juices most of which I consumed in a flash.  I then borded the ship to return to work and attempt to recover from my journey.  After taking care of a few things at the print shop I proceeded to the crew mess where I collapsed in a chair and drank mug after mug after mug of water and iced tea, some of which I mixed with salt (we do not have gatorade on the ship).  Upon returning to the print shop my leg muscles proceeded to have some of the worst cramps I have ever experienced.  Thankfully nobody was around to witness this event.  

Over all today was a fantastic day.  However, it is now time for bed as I must get some rest to prepare for tomorrow's adventures in Tenerife!  Word on the street is that Tenerife is home to the tallest mountain in Spain.  I am not sure if I will tackle it tomorrow but who knows.  I will return to Tenerife in December so perhaps I can conquer it then (or tomorrow).

1 comment:

  1. Knowing you posted this just 13 minutes ago makes it seem that you are close when in reality you are on the other side of the Atlantic! I am thoroughly enjoying your blog entries Zach! Thanks for taking the time to give us a glimpse of your experiences. I am sharing your entries with your grandparents. They are thrilled to hear that you are doing well.
    You mentioned yesterday your thoughts of splitting wood. Your dad has a new pile of freshly cut logs from the Buckwalter farm piled at the pine tree (at turn around.) Knowing the way things usually go around here, the wood will still need to be split when you get home in May!
    La la salama and I hope your muscles recover from your run up the mountain.