Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stepping up to the task

It's not raining, and I'm not at school so there was no excuse this morning not to resume my regular walking circuit. The high point - in the literal sense only - is the flight of 132 steps up through the bush from the beach which I once thought would supply my Rocky moment when I was preparing to walk the Inca Trail, but which I now realise will only ever make me breathless with, er, breathlessness. But puffing's good.
While travelling involves an ironic amount of sitting and standing around, there's also far more walking than is usual in one's day-to-day life, and inevitably lots of steps to climb. High points - literal, again - are part of the tourist's duty when exploring new places, city or countryside, and are often the metaphorical high point of a visit too.
When that's the Empire State Building or the London Eye or the Eiffel Tower or the Petronas Towers, that's one thing. But when it's the Kings Canyon Rim Walk (a glorious place, despite its somewhat insalubrious name) or the Inca Trail or the Milford Track or the Scott Memorial in Edinburgh, well, that's quite another, because the only way to get to the top is by putting one foot above the other.
It's always worth it, for the view and the personal satisfaction, and the knowledge that it's an achievement that deserves a bit of a sugary reward afterwards. Doing it the hard way also makes you feel more in touch with the environment, like in Malaysia at the Batu Caves where once a year 100,000 entranced pilgrims climb the 272 steps to honour Vishnu, many of them with weights on hooks pushed through their skin and tongues. It makes carrying merely a camera, even in 35 degree heat, even past bold monkeys, seem like a holiday.
Which it is, of course - but one it's wise to train for.

No comments:

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...