Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Adventures in Newfoundland: The best day Day 9

It’s a beautiful day – a perfect day for climbing a mountain. Mark didn’t sleep very well last night, so he’s not looking too keen on climbing a mountain. We’ve packed our supplies in our book bags – not very ergonomic for hiking. We’ve got extra clothes, 4 litres of water, Doritos, bananas, chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal M&M cookies, Pepperettes, peanuts, trail mix and sunscreen. We’ve got our fun shot camera too. Maybe there will be some memorable moments today that we will want to capture on film!

* * *

So we got to the parking lot at 9:15. We had wanted to start earlier – like 8am – but Mark had to get a coffee into him before he was sure he wanted to do the hike today. We slathered ourselves with sunscreen; later we would realize we hadn’t put on enough. We were comforted by signs indicating that we could chicken out and do a shorter, half-day hike to “base camp” and back if we chose. We would soon discover base camp to be no more than a bench facing the mountain and a crude outhouse with no toilet paper about an hour and a half from the parking lot. Oh yes, and base camp also consisted of a bunch of warning signs about not underestimating the mountain and how treacherous the hike would be and under which circumstances and meteorological conditions NOT to attempt the climb. From the bench that was base camp, we could see “the gully” which looked like a rock slide. Tiny moving things on the rocks were hikers who had set out a bit earlier than us. They climbed and rested and climbed and rested. The climb really didn’t look too bad from where we sat. So we decided to go up.

At first we’d walk up those not-so-stationary rocks for about 50m and then we’d rest. I marveled at the people above us who did not seem to be making as much progress as us. Then soon we were just climbing a few steps and then resting. It got steep enough that we had to use our hands and we had to gingerly test rocks before stepping on them because some would slide. I got nervous about falling backwards only once, at a particularly narrow part of the gully.

When we finally reached the top, the view was absolutely worth it. We had to walk across some more rocks to get to the “official” summit – 806m up. Mark wanted to move to a nicer spot to eat our lunch, so we started to head towards the edge, but my legs were tired of walking on rocks, so we ended up just planting ourselves on the flattest rocks we could find. We ate some Doritos and bananas and then built an Inukshuk.

I asked Mark, “Are you ready to go yet?” and he said, “No, not yet.” Then he came to sit next to me on my rock. He held me in his arms and I set my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes and said, “This is a good moment.” When I opened my eyes, he had a strange look on his face. Then I heard him say, “I’ve been thinking about how to ask you this….” and I looked down as he took out a blue ring box. And then Mark Peron (MY Mark Peron) asked me to marry him and made me the happiest girl alive. And I said yes (several times). And I giggled some and hugged him and kissed him. And I had to ask lots of questions because I was, in truth, dumbfounded that he could surprise me so much. I am usually VERY intuitive.

The climb down was a long windy, less steep trail along the side of the mountain. It was the hardest part, probably because we were sun-burnt and tired and the thrill of getting to the top was dying fast. We did meet a moose VERY close up. Close enough that my instinct was to run away fast (were it not for the people taking pictures on the trail in front of us).

As we walked, I ate some blueberries and we saw lots of different kinds of shit on the trail. Bear and moose we speculate.

And at 3:48 we were happily (and engagedly) back at our car.

This was my favourite day ever.


jay said...

Hello big sister. That sounds like it was a very nice day. Congratulations!

Ben & Maryann Roebuck said...

Hello there as well Big Sister.
You walked up Gros Morne with 4 L of water! Wow. I'm curious about what the poop looked like - too bad no pics. Congratulations!!! Your engagement story depicts Mark perfectly. Yay!

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