Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For Fuck's Sake, Jesus H. Christ!

These are expletives I reserve for when things go straight to shit.* [save] For example, say, when I compose an entire blog entry in Microsoft Word and am on the point of uploading it to Blogger and Word decides to quit. Then when I reopen it and it raises false hopes by having my entry in its entirety open up in an autorecovery document. Only to then again quit a second later, dragging my entry down to the Ninth Circle of Hell where Microsoft and all Microsoft products reside. [save] It is now probably being devoured by some Microsoft demon with a forked tail and/or forked tongue. Nevermind that it was one of those entries that was interesting only to me. That only makes it worse as far as I’m concerned. It’s like a personal attack. I’d lovingly documented a lovely hike [save] B and I took on Sunday. It was all interspersed with photos and everything. It took me well over an hour to write and size all the photos.


It’s 9:39 PM now, so I’m not going to attempt to reconstruct my entry. I’m just so fucking pissed off at Bill Gates. Why is Word always “unexpectedly quitting”? And why does the dialogue box have to state the obvious in such a responsibility-shirking way? It’s infuriating and so typical of the way Microsoft operates.

OK. Maybe I’ll try for the Cliff’s Notes. God, I’m mad!!!!!!!!! [save]

The entry was titled “Hiking with Alacrity” (how I mourn it already). [save] I was all pleased with myself because (instead of the raving preamble above) I’d started out with an semi-esoteric allusion to the doomed 1924 Mount Everest expedition [save] in which George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were last seen climbing with “considerable alacrity” 900 feet shy of the summit. When next seen--75 years later--Mallory was frozen solid, with a hole poked through his forehead and his leg broken in several places.

Adopting Mallory and Irvine’s hiking style was perhaps tempting fate, but we’d gotten a late start and we had 12 miles to hike and 2,300 feet of elevation to lose and then regain on the Paradise Park Loop Trail. "Alacrity" was exactly what we needed. Alacrity was absolutely no problem for the first couple of miles of trail, since it was all downhill. [save] Even the guy we saw who was hiking with a cup of coffee in his hand had a certain degree of alacrity.

Alacrity was once again in evidence as I crossed the Zig-Zag River. [save]

Believe it or not, I turned back about 4 years ago when I encountered this piddling little stream.

Zig-Zag River

It’s nice to conquer fears even if they are fears of something no reasonable person would be afraid of.

Onward and most definitely upward we went through a frizzled wildflower meadow on a sand trail. I can’t say I enjoyed this part of the trail. In fact, I stopped about every 200 feet—basically whenever there was a tree. I couldn’t help wondering, “How is it that I was able to hike all over creation in sunnier and sandier conditions on my hiking trip to Utah 13 years ago? It could not possibly be that I’m older and feebler and out of shape. No way. I refuse to believe it."

Finally we made it here—to the beginning of Paradise! [save]

Paradise Loop Trail

Notice that Mount Hood is coming in loud and clear—apparently the fires on the other side of the mountain have subsided. It was splendidly clear.

The trail flattened out and everything just got better.

Paradise Park

At the higher elevations, the wildflowers were at their peak.

Lupines and Paintbrush

B and I bounced along (with extreme alacrity) on the Pacific Crest Trail for several effortless miles, enjoying the illusion that we were even with the top of Mount Hood.

Pacific Crest Trail

You can just make out the trail cutting along the side of the canyon. [save]

We got back to the ford over the Zig-Zag River, which I accomplished with even more alacrity than before, and sat down for a snack. I noticed a nearly full bottle of Gatorade in my pack and decided it might be a good idea to chug it all, since we had a 900-foot pull up the side of Zig-Zag Canyon coming up next.

Good thing I did that. B started flagging badly not long after we reached the top of the canyon. No alacrity was detectable. I was really surprised, as normally he’s a stronger hiker than I am. [save] I was actually feeling fine, but I was a bit worried about B. We plodded along steadily uphill for a couple of miles. B was wiped. He even had to sit down on a log when we were probably no more than a mile and a half from the end.

As we sat there, a German woman in her 60s trudged by. She paused and said something about it being a drag to end a hike with an uphill slog. Trying to be affable, I said, “Well, it’s such a beautiful hike, it’s worth it.” She said, “Yes. But still…I curse it!” [save] About 10 minutes later (yes, we still had out butts parked on that log!) her husband dragged by us. He was hiking without a shirt, leaving his not inconsiderable belly exposed. (That seems very unEuropean to me.) He was so spent, he didn’t even nod.

Well, I guess I did more or less reconstruct the post. I cannot allow Microsoft to win—and still I curse it!!!!!!! [save, save, save, save, save, save]

*Since I rewrote this, I've spent a couple of hours (intermittently) trying to sign in to Blogger, which surely must be in cahoots with Microsoft. I don't know what the fuck is wrong with it, but I'm ready to kick it's ass into the middle of next week. And I'm furious at myself for being so obsessed with getting a blog post up that I've stayed up waaaaay past my bedtime. It's a sickness.


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