In 1990 Tim Macartney-Snape made a 4 month solo journey on foot that began in the waters of India’s Bay of Bengal and finished on the peak of Mt Everest; he became the first man to truly climb the mountain from ‘sea to summit.’
Taking a cue from this adventurer we decided to host our own Nanaimoized version – from Maffeo Sutton Park to the top of Mt Benson.
And so, the date was set, provisions procured, routes mapped and the team hand picked. Weeks of preparation climaxed on April 5th; a day that would prove to be unforgettable for the 6 companions.
After a perilous trek through the depths of Nanaimo the original 4 were joined by 2 more at Westwood Lake for the final summit bid. The mountain was angry that day, my friends – like an old man trying to send soup back at a deli. We got past the Ridges and suddenly the great eminence appeared before us. I tell you it was a thousand meters high if it was a foot.
As if sensing our presence the sky opened with a great bellow of wind. From where we were standing we could gaze directly at the distant snow covered apex.From out of nowhere, a great burst of energy sent our team at a breakneck pace up the steep slopes of Benson until we found ourselves right on top of it.
Freezing winds lashed our faces and frost crept into our fingers and toes as we surveyed the city before us. We gazed in curiosity as the lillipution scene unfolded; thousands below living their lives unaware of their keen observers.
The cold seemed to loosen its grip and time slowed around us as birds gambolled in the powerful drafts and the clouds flowed overhead.
Minutes blended together and thoughts of work, school and other mundanities of life sank from our minds as our personal goals and dreams seemed infinitely closer. Mt Benson is comparitively small yet right there and then it represented so much more; our drive to follow through on dreams, our ability to endure pain and difficulty in the pursuit of a goal and our love of beautiful things.
Temperature shocked us back to reality and we set off on our slippery descent.
Packed snow proved to be an efficient and quick medium and we made incredible time off the mountain with no injuries but several bruised butts.