The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography
Biographies are studies of someone's life based on cumulative research. Good ones may reveal something, but probably barely scratch the surface of what actually went on. The internet is allowing me to do something VERY different.
~Robert Glenn Ketchum
Friday, October 18, 2019
The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #170: Daze, #170: After several very enjoyable days in a guest house on the summit of Mount Huangshan, Carey and I, have explored a myriad of trails, scenic view terraces, sunrises, and sunsets. We have also had some great dinners. We are always joined by our guide for this meal, which he uses to advise us about what we might do the next day. On our last night, he explains that in the morning, the bearers will collect our bags, and we will descend to the valley floor, staying in the same guest house we used, before coming here. Then, on the following morning, we would board a bus that would take us to Shanghai. He turned in after the meal, so Carey and I took a last walk under the stars, and hatched a VERY different plan. We have studied the various trail maps of the mountain, and believe we know where the stone staircase down to the valley floor begins, so that night we pack our bags, leaving them with a note for our guide, saying we will meet him for dinner at the guest house on the valley floor. Before dawn, while the others are seeking their view platform of choice, she and I go AWOL, and head for the staircase. We have NO IDEA what we are getting into, but after several hours of plunging down one STEEP stone staircase after another, there is certainly no going back. Our gear, looks like no one else’s on the mountain. We sport Patagonia fleece, state-of-the-art, climber’s daypacks filled with snacks, a very fancy Nikon camera system many lenses dangling from my hip-belt in foam padded-pockets, and most significantly, really great hiking boots. There is NO ONE on the stairs going down, but by midday, we start passing HUNDREDS of Chinese walking up, most in what foreigners refer to "Chinese slippers” - cheap, thin cloth shoes with plastic soles. Only some of those we pass carry a daypack, and ALL are dressed similarly - the men wear slacks with (mostly) long-sleeved, white collared shirts, and the women sport, dresses, slacks, or in some cases, jeans. When greeted in passing by Carey and I, most stand speechless, as though they have never seen anything like us. It makes for a VERY long and amusing day. It is also one of the most spectacular hikes of our lives. Going down!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019
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