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Scaling Mt. Driveway, or, Am I Walter Mitty’s Grandson? February 16, 2013

Posted by William Spear in >> Focus on ....
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Under the best of conditions, the remaining climb was impossible. More than 100 feet of vertical incline through raw, wintry weather that tested even the most experienced climbers.

Danny Kaye as Walter Mitty

Am I another in the Mitty family tree?

The swirling, blinding snow made visibility for more than a few feet impossible. My oxygen tank was almost empty and I was near exhaustion.The batteries in my trusted Finklestein two-way radio, the same gear Warsham and Tunnee had used to scale Mt. Krachow in the southern Hippodees region, were dying. Without regular directions from Base Camp to coordinate my ascent, I could not survive at this altitude. If the weather didn’t freeze me, the marauding bands of Wallkrits would capture me. If I was fortunate enough to get past them, I could still face the legendary limping Troklatan, Snow Beast of the Sky.

Then a voice crackled over my Finklestein headphones, “Twenty, only twenty.” The words could mean anything. Twenty minutes of oxygen, twenty Wallkrits, or twenty what? Then, the snow stopped blowing and there was the top twenty feet away.

I pulled together every ounce of my remaining strength and walked toward the summit. Fifteen feet away, ten feet and my head began throbbing. The wind picked up and covered the prize.

Five feet away and my body screamed for oxygen. I wanted to stop but trudged on. Two more steps and suddenly I lost my footing and went down hard. I couldn’t get up and began sliding away from the summit. My gloved fingers grabbed for anything and finally I stopped the slide. Unable to move forward and not wanting to go back, I was stuck.

That’s when I heard it. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. There was only one creature at this altitude limping about. It was the Troklatan. The sound came closer, clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, and I knew it was the end for me. How could I defend against its fierce attack?

Certain of my demise at the claws of the legendary Snow Beast of the Sky, I didn’t move. The creature was near and I heard its heavy breathing. It bent over and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You look like you could use some hot chocolate.” It was my wife, who had recently broken a bone in her foot, and had hobbled up to the end of the driveway to bring me sustenance. She left the thermos in my hands and clip-clopped, clip-clopped, clip-clopped down the driveway on her crutches.

Such is the life of shoveling the driveway after the snow on Friday-Saturday 8-9 February 2013. Am I Walter Mitty’s grandson? Maybe.

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