Saturday, May 5, 2007

Advice to Explorers

When comparing three of the major mountain chains in the world: the Rockies, the Andes, and the Alps, there is a decided atmospheric difference.

The Rocky Mountains are a Frontier. They are rugged, and open. They call out to be explored, to be tamed, and to be lived in. The explorer, the prospector and the cowboy’s spirit live in the mountains and the land surrounding it. They stand large and sharply angular against the sky, and the sun paints the sky in bold colors when it rises and sets through them.

The Andes are Primeval: young in the sense of when the Earth itself was young. Volcanic giants on the edge of the world, it is as if no human has ever inhabited them. Past and extinct civilizations feel completely alien to the modern world. Hidden behind curtains of clouds, fire burns along the range, occasionally bursting forth in a violent display.

The Alps are Magic, and are older than the ancient habitation of mankind. Haphazardly cut out of rock and sky, mist bathed and moss covered. Dwarves and fairies and other mysteries still hide there, yet humanity is deeply rooted in the history here, flowering out all over the meadows and the tired slopes, along ancient streams and hidden lakes.

Pity should be felt for those who have never experienced real mountains, for the beauty of creation finds its pinnacle there. There are no sights, smells, nor feelings to be compared with those found among these heights anywhere else on the planet.

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