The temperature is climbing. Already at 10:00 a.m. it's approaching 90 degrees. We pack extra water and head for a trail we've done before. It's only a short drive from our apartment. Today, I've brought along gluten-free pasta instead of my usual ration of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. The hike to the top will take more than three hours.
In the broiling sun it's a lazy ascent through orchards, meadows and communities smaller than villages near Merano. Villagettes? There are enormous sprinkler systems to water the meadows. Ahead we see an obstacle course of sprinklers moving toward and away from the road we're on. It's like one of those Japanese shows where the contestants have to time their moves just right to get through the course without being sprayed with some awful ooze.
I get about three-fourths of the way through when I'm pelted from above with wonderful, refreshing water. A family of three hikers ahead watch me and laugh. I laugh. I want to do it again. It brings back memories of hot Tennessee days in the yard: me and my brother chasing each other with the hose, neither wanting to stay dry.
I also think about my niece a lot. She has a disease called Wegener's Disease.Whenever I'm in South Tyrol I think of her. She went hiking with us in these mountains a few years ago.
I think about my shoulder less than I did a few months ago. It still hurts, but the laming pain when I move my left arm quickly is over. I try to move the arm as much as possible so that the shoulder remembers I need it. I breathe and sweat buckets. I am drenched from head to toe with sweat.
The best hike yet. Day 6 next time.
I must be off,
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type, available from Amazon Anything and lots of other online stores.