Climbing ‘A’ Mountain = Climbing a mountain

Before I delve into this second post, I would like to acknowledge a few people for their great input thus far. Firstly, I’d like to thank reader “meg92986” for the comment on my last post. To answer that query: I have taken countless naps in Hayden Library throughout my collegiate career, every one of them tranquil and refreshing. However, I have not slumbered there for an entire night, which I think would be an excellent undertaking around finals time. Also, the annual Undie Run is too good to pass up. I’ve very grateful for the suggestions, and thanks for reading!

Secondly, I would like to thank my editors for suggesting that I climb ‘A’ Mountain, the project I chose to take on for this post. Obviously, I couldn’t feel complete in my ASU experience without reaching the ultimate symbol that looms over the entire campus. Plus, my journey atop the mountain would strike so many awesome metaphorical parallels with my journey through school. Reaching the summit would undoubtedly instill a feeling of pride similar to the kind I will feel when reaching for my diploma in the spring. I approached the mountain on a crisp afternoon, ready to embark on a mountainman’s voyage.

Standing at the bottom and sizing up the craggy beast for the first time, I realized ‘A’ Mountain is rather large.

I started off on the dirt trail, which seemed to lope around the mountain in a zig-zag pattern. I don’t know why, but I just assumed there would just be a staircase of some kind that shot straight up the slope. Part of me was holding out hope for an escalator. I finally reached a wooden stair path that looked utterly daunting and would only be taking me up to the first trail landing.

I trotted my way up, my arms pumping beside me. Halfway through, I started to get parched. My shoulders were aching with the weight of my book bag. In preparation for this report, I had stuffed it full of all my needed journalistic utilities (pens, notebooks, eight-pound analog cassette recorder) but didn’t bother to bring any water or granola. I was passed by several groups of middle-aged men with fanny packs hustling up the stairway, some even wearing khaki slacks. Can you believe there are people who wholeheartedly decide to waltz up this rock on their lunch break?

I slung my bag off my shoulder and took in the view. I wasn’t very high up, but I managed to spy a batch of otherwise hidden tennis courts on the roof of a nearby hotel. Wowzers!

Still only halfway up the lousy staircase, I trudged on. A pebble found its way into my New Balances, and my resolve began to fade.

Finally, I reached the top and found what looked to be the first in a series of rest areas on the trail. There was a metal bench saddled next to a metal garbage can. I faced westward, where I caught a nice glimpse of the Old Mill and learned some neat facts about the native bird population.

Pleased with my progress, I took a seat on the rest bench and lit up a Camel.

As a dedicated cigarette smoker, I seize all opportunities to hone my craft. There’s really nothing like smoking in nature, let alone nature at a slight elevation. It’s not often I find myself in such a scenic position, seeing as my discipline requires that I avoid certain kinds of activities.

Activities to avoid often include one or more of the following:

  • Muscle exertion
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Running, jogging, walking, or standing in rapidly changing intervals
  • Throwing, bouncing, slapping, battering, or carrying of spherical or oblong-shaped projectiles
  • Preliminary stretching
  • Compulsory donning of mesh shorts

Yes, my regimented nicotine consumption requires that I make certain sacrifices. I realize this kind of lifestyle is not for the uninitiated. However, I am willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill my passion. I choose to live my life by a very simple philosophy: if you’re gonna bother doing something, you’d better charge on and take it all the way.

Thus, I took one last sight of the view, turned around, and descended the mountain.

I was proud to have taken in some lovely vistas and learned some handy facts about the local wildlife. However, I was disappointed to find that the steps pictured above are just as treacherous to step down as they are to scale up! Awkwardly skittering down like a nervous child, my feet eventually found concrete and I rejoined the urban landscape.

Had I done my metaphorical duty and reached the summit of the mountain, I would have surely done something introspective and meaningful. I’m sure my chest would have pumped with a swelling concoction of accomplishment, physical prowess, and profound enlightenment. Maybe I would have looked out on downtown Tempe with all its ant-size residents and felt compelled to let loose a throaty, masculine roar of success. Perhaps my fists would have flown above my head.

But the fact remains: climbing ‘A’ Mountain is just like climbing a mountain.

36 days,