Sunday, 27 July 2008
12 - Exploring Titan and the Mountains of Madness
This is a brief transpond from a distant planet. These are the first images sent back from the manned probe sent to Titan.
Indeed a foreign world - barren but for the ice and liquid methane rivers plus terribly dangerous glacial sinkholes that caused no end of consternation to the psychonauts Doctor Lobster and El Dawid (aka Davey Crockett). Signs of life were certainly encountered in this patch - in fact a complete Alma footprint was found - Note distinctive extra 'ball' of the foot and single horizontally long toe plus claw. (Reality aside: The Alma is for all intents and purpose the (Mongolian) equivalent of the Yeti)
After exploring Titan's surface and being reminded of the power of Nature (said sinkhole and caving ice edges) we retreated in the face of an almighty gale to our now-broken landing pod (tent) to weather the worst ice-storm we could possibly have encountered in the height of a mongolian summer. We received about an inch and a half of sleet/snow overnight. And to illustrate how cold this was... in the morning the stream near us had frozen over. I broke the ice (haha) to get some water to make tea... Returning to the same place 45 minutes later to clean our pots etc I found that section had re-frozen. This was in the morning AFTER the sun had risen! Brr...
However after that the weather turned into the most glorious sun-baked day. We hiked and climbed for 7 hours from our base to the peak of Mount Malchin. This was an arduous climb far beyond what I thought I was physically capable of. I had approached the horizon hunt with a purpose (a magic spell if you will) and this plus the spirit of the place seized me and pulled me up to the summit. A testament to the power of the (bloody) mind(edness). By far the highest thing I have climbed I know by doing so I extended my personal envelope (and gazed deep into Russia, Kazakstan and back into Mongolia).
I have no doubt that I will add much to this in the future but in terms of Mountains and Valleys here is an insight:
If Mountains represent the remarkable learning experiences (positive or negative) we encounter in life then the Valleys are the periods between the momentous occasions in which we come to understand the lessons taught by the mountain. Because I can tell you I am not capable of climbing another mountain of this ilk in the same day. I am also happy to announce that care of David Haupt I can add that sleep is counted as very solid Valley-time. It is during sleep that we assimulate the experiences.
And finally below a few more shots of our locale.
And yet I have not even told about the jungle horror mosquitoe horizon-crossing hell-march from west of the sun to east of the moon I did less than a week ago. It involved a day's horse-ride, 2 nights out, 25km hike and a 36 hour period without seeing a soul other than my own! A sight I was quite surprised by truth be told. Its quite the thing to wander close to the edge of one's endurance. And a good thing to note for future reference. Lovely.
Ok, here's campsite 1, 2 and a lunar curiosity from there. Love ya x