A. & I & Mark G. are climbing some rock formation in the American Southwest. It looks like Chimney Rock – – an arid landscape with a rocky cone protruding, tapering off into a pillar. The climb is a tough one; the dry heat saps our energy and the last quarter mile is practically a vertical climb. The site is crawling with tourists though and none of us want to look foolish and weak in front of these pedestrians. Between the spectacular view and the encouraging words from our guide, getting to the top seems to be less challenging with each overhand grasp.
When we do finally reach the top, there’s a rockslide. Seems like half the top column/pillar section of the mountain just gives way. The way down that had seemed possible is gone and all of us feel trapped up here on the top. The guide is unfazed and just sits there for a while, sipping water, taking in the scenery, and running an inventory on the surviving members of the outing. While we’re up there, waiting for a solution to present itself, A. & I meet this couple from Vermont that decided to climb Chimney Rock as part of their honeymoon. (“What a coincidence?”)
Finally, the guide smiles and explains that if we scoot down the one side, there’s a naturally occuring “rock bridge” that we can take all the way back to our house in Vermont. It’s a little precarious, but we follow him. We almost fall a couple of times but eventually we make it. And climb through the window into our bedroom.