Mount Parsons 1/1 by Tripoto

Mount Parsons

Kelli Mutchler
Lost means little when you’re halfway up a rock face, wedged furtively between towers of stone. Every surface looks the same from this angle; no map promises us stable footing. While other peaks in the Hazard Range of Freycinet National Park can be reached on a maintained trail, this one has not been tamed. The only proof of previous human touches are these granite guides. To trust them is to trust everyone who has climbed ahead and kept them in place.Isn’t there something all-inclusive about these wee piles? Throughout the ages, humans have written sagas with nothing more than a few stones, carefully placed one on top of the other: to indicate hunting ground in Greenland, to commemorate grave sites in Portugal, to garner good luck in South Korea. And almost everywhere, they are used to mark trails and point a traveler in the right direction. So I wedged my heel into a narrow crevice, sighed and stretched upward. We can doubt, or we can learn from the signs left by others. After all, it is always better to climb forward than to slide back down.