What goes up must come down, so yes, there’s a third part to this story. Frankly, though, I wish there weren't. A huge waterslide would have been far more enjoyable.
As I headed back down the weather turned nasty. In rolled heavy clouds, high winds, and my old friend – cold, unrelenting rain. I passed a small group of hikers on their way up. I was impressed by their fortitude; their view from the summit would be little more than rainclouds and fog.
Three hours into the hike down I realized I’d made a critical mistake – I’d taken an incorrect path. I was too tired to be angry with myself and much too tired to go back up to find the correct route. I wearily continued down the wrong path, not knowing where I’d end up.
I reached a parking area where I’d hoped to hitchhike out but it was deserted. I waited for 10 minutes, praying to all the Gods I could think of for a car to appear.
“Please, please send me a car! Any car! I don’t care if the driver has body odour, or makes me uncomfortable. You already failed to deliver on the my ‘waterslide’ prayer, what’s up?!?
The Gods either don’t exist or didn’t care; they sent only more rain. I continued walking down the muddy path leading away from my campsite. My food supplies were gone and the hours dragged on. I stopped often to rest my achy legs and tried not to notice my growing hunger.
Finally, (finally!) I reached a fork in the path and was saved by two wonderful bird-watchers who pointed me in the right direction. Two long hours later I was back at the campsite.
If my climb and descent were mapped, the path would look like a huge, tilted slice of pizza with the crust at the bottom and the tip at the summit. In case you’re considering it, I strongly recommend against the pizza-perimeter method of mountain climbing. In all, my journey lasted 14 hours. Certainly a success, but a tiring one, to say the least.
Exhausted, I passed out in my tent, dreaming of elevators, escalators, and chair lifts, those wonderful human inventions that that have largely rendered involuntary vertical climbing obsolete.