An update a little late for some but not for others.
It’s week two of fourth year.
This past weekend was spent in Glencoe. I hiked the Three Sisters on Saturday (a walk I had done in first year and was keen to repeat to see how times had changed). I ran down the trail back to the bus in boots and probably broke at least two toes. That evening the club went to the historic Clachaig Inn and fondly reminisced about the snow and the hail and the rain and then finally the sun. I learned boat races are not a thing I should compete in no matter how much I want to. Sunday morning I left for a gentle ten mile jog, came back to the campsite by one, and took a nap until people returned around four.
I hadn’t been to Glencoe since first year, so I was quiet excited to return to see how I’ve improved. Spoiler alert, three years does make a pretty big difference. And since coming from Kansas back in 2015, I’ve learned a lot about mountains/mountaineering in general. I’m still by no means an expert, but I would say I’m at least fairly competent. It’s a bit odd now, if I’m being entirely honest, being seen by the new members of the club as one of the people who ‘knows what they’re doing.’ Especially if I think back to the some of the stupid tactical errors I pulled in the first three years of my mountain existence such as:
- thinking I didn’t need a roll mat
- putting guy lines of a tension tent in the wrong direction so it collapsed
- having my water bottle freeze shut because it was metal and reversely trying to fix that by putting boiling water in a metal bottle the next day and burning my hands
- forgetting. my. gloves.
A side by side comparison of my wholesome growth illustrated through my first year trip to Glencoe versus this past weekend for interested parties:
Which, again being as honest as I can on this platform without further incriminating myself as a bumbling idiot, is pretty reflective of my time here at University.
For those unaware, I upended my life in 2015 and moved to Scotland having accepted my offer to study without actually visiting the country prior or knowing anyone who lived here. At this point, as well, the longest I had spend away from home had been at most two weeks. It was a bit of a snap decision really. For most of my high school years, I had plans to attend UChicago to play basketball. It really wasn’t public knowledge at the time, but I had actually been in the middle of recruitment process, having visited the university, spoken with the coach, and attended a few camps. I applied to Edinburgh in October more as a long shot ‘what if’ but six days after my application had been submitted I was facing an unconditional offer.
By January, I decided to not even apply to UChicago and move to Scotland.
But, I am glad that I did it.
Really glad actually.
(My university saving and parents are as well just fyi.)
But, then to complicate matters further, instead of joining the basketball team as I had thought I went on the Cobbler day trip with the mountaineers. And, after spending my formative years in Kansas, (a flat farming state in the landlocked dead-center of the USofA) I decided that I should learn how to rock climb and hillwalk. It was a very steep learning curve, both figuratively and literally. But it has allowed me to travel the country and see sites (including archaeological ones) that I would have never seen otherwise.
Which I guess is the point of this post? And the reason for the beginning anecdote about Glencoe. This year brings my undergraduate degree to a close, but hopefully opens up more opportunities for additional study. And my typical fashion of bumbling around until something works out, it’ll probably crop up when I least expect it.