European Journals

Day 10: A Sheet Of Rain

7 September 2017

 

The 0605 train to Fort William had us looking at our own reflections out the dark windows, but just as well since the rain veiled the distant hills. Teysia slept on my shoulder, and I listened to some school teachers talk as the light slowly grew. We finally arrived and sat down at the little café with some filtered coffee. A young American was having trouble finding a place to stay, so I lent him my last day's experience, and we chatted, with the intrusion of another American every now and then. The intruder was an older guy from Cleveland, trying to hike and whatnot, but with his ass crack hanging out every time we saw him the last two days. The younger fellow, named Elliot, from Amherst area, had just graduated in Spring with a poli sci degree and was headed to grad school in London to study developmental econ. He'd hiked Ben Nevis the day before, like we'd planned, and he said it was a great day for it. Oh well. I offered to take him out with the lot of us in London and gave him my info and bid him good luck.

We crossed the street to the main café in town and have been here since, eating hawaiian pizza and drinking tea. When there was a clear spot, I walked in the square for a few minutes. A catch-up day I suppose.

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Once the café closed, we went down to the post office to mail post cards and walked the little shopping street, just to see what was there. We headed back up it and across town as it started to rain a bit, crossing the swollen river and aiming for Ben Nevis. We'd planned to hike it, but we couldn't even see the top of the near side, as it was totally shrouded in mist and clouds. The one lane road we walked was pleasant, despite the rain, with fields and hedges, a little fairytale garden in someone's back yard, and a cascading fall on the side of the Ben, in the distance behind the sheeps. The colors enhanced by the wet, reds and mossy oranges, wheaten tans, and shiny barks seemed to jump up from the peat. As we caught sight of a few stone buildings, we knew we were close to our destination, but as we began to ascend the hill before us, the sky came down in sheets and pushed us back with soaking slaps so that when we arrived and checked in at the hostess' stand, we were dripping. They got us set and told us to go back outside and down round back to get in to the hostel. We were the last two in the 16-or-so-bunked place to arrive, and had to hang our things by the toilets after a bunk troll behind his curtain told us not to hang wet things on the hooks by our bunks.

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We went to the kitchen area and settled in. We microwaved our supermarket bounty and ate with the company of an Aussie with one of the best haircuts I've seen yet - a very dashing and effortless mullet of white blonde, with an 80's wind jacket to match, in the colors of his native land's banner. Coen was his name, and his dear Prudence was accompanying him on a break from London before they headed back to their own island. The conversation we were having about hiking and enjoying Edinburgh more than London and such (he, too, is from a more rural area and found London to require some adjustment) was interrupted by a French couple cooking their gourmet hostel meal (as they do) and sitting right in the middle of our conversation (it's a hostel, you know). Once they'd left, we continued a bit, trying to catch the internet flying around elusively like a drunken fly, always escaping capture by some miracle of idiocy. I called a cab for the morning and we went to bed. 

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NotesJacob Sell Hicks