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mountains and maoams and a mouth torn to shreds

by Emily Wilcox 2 months ago in Adventure
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a summer survival snack story

Maoams - from

July 25th, 2020. 06:58. Not on the mountain yet. Mouth closed. Maoams still packed.

“Dad,” I look at him hesitantly, having just reemerged from behind a car park bush for a quick wee. “You sure?”

We look at the sign together. At the path unwinding from behind it, trailling long and high, up to the crest of Snowdon. A crest we are about to reach. And not the only one - one of three.

“Nope,” he says, and then marches on. Our hike begins. And so does our energy depletion.

Let the Welsh Three Peaks begin.

12:12. Somewhere up a mountain. Maoams cracked open. Mouth chewing.

“Dad,” I look at him sleepily, but with a smile on my face, extending a new open packet of Maoam sweets to him, which he’s already declined once. I’ve had 3 already. Packets, that is. “You sure?”

We look at the sweets together. At the path unwinding from behind my hand, trailing long and high - but not as long and high now that we’ve been walking for a few hours - up to the crest of Cadair Idris. A crest we are about to reach. And not the only one - the second of three.

“Nope,” he says, declining again, and then he marches on. Our hike continues. And so does our energy depletion (but mine a little less now. You know, what with all the sugar).

15:32. At the peak. Cannot speak. Mouth filled with Maoams.

Dad, I look at him behind eyes filled with tears I refuse to let slip, if you can read my thoughts, please can we go home now? I’m exhausted. Half a fourth packet of sweets is filling my mouth, but I’m too tired to chew. Two mountains scaled and I feel like I’ve been impaled. I think, you sure we can’t just get airlifted back?

We look down the mountain together. At the path unwinding along it, trailing long and low - a path we’ve already climbed, and a path we now have to descend - down to the bottom of Cadair Idris. A bottom we’re about to head back to before setting off towards the crest of Pen Y Fan. And not the only one - the final of three.

“Nope,” dad says to himself, as though he’s battling with his own thoughts to give up, and then he marches on. I swallow the sweets I haven’t even chewed and follow him. Our hike goes on. Our energy doesn’t.

18.01. No idea where. No energy to ask. No Maoams left either.

“Dad,” I look at him - I think, I’m not sure, I don’t know, do you need an energy source to see? - and croak his name. We’re lost. We went an inch off course when heading back down from the peak and suddenly we’ve looped the whole mountain three times and ended on the opposite side to which we began. And deep into the past. We’re in some kind of remote town, once clearly from the 1930’s because there’s no signal, no sign of people, no nothing. Just country lanes, a very unhelpful horse and a phonebox that isn’t even a real phonebox. “You sure we’re going the right way?”

We look at the ever expanding townscape before us. At the lack of anything that will help us figure out where we are and how to get out of it. We quite clearly haven’t made it to the third peak. At this point, we just want to make it home.

“Nope,” dad croaks back, checking once again if he’s got phone signal and frowning deeply when he finds that he once again, does not. And then he marches on. Slower, more agonisngly what with all the blisters, and I do the same. Our hike isn’t even really a hike anymore, just a survival mission. Our energy was lost somewhere with that final packet of Maoams.

July 26th, 2020. 03:22. Dry heaving into a Sainsburys bag. 12,000 calories will do that to you.

“Dad,” I looked at him proudly when we got home - and with squinty eyes. I was already half asleep by then, nothing but a recorded message of a person plodding back in through the door. Dad had just said that we’re going to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks next month. “You sure?”

We looked at our feet, at the blisters and bruises and bloodied bits. At the backpacks we took that were once filled with fuel and returned with nothing but rappers and zipped up groans. Then we looked around us and back at each other. We made it home. 53,531 steps across 23.7 miles and the equivalent of 455 flights of stairs climbed - we made it home.

“Yeah,” he says, grinning at me. “Yeah I am.”

That was when we got in, having flagged down a rogue taxi driver, off-shift and with a full Tesco big shop in his boot. He rescued us, we got home, I showered and ate not a thing because suddenly the infinite bags of sweets had finally caught up with me. Ironically, it’s not my feet that suffered the most damage from today, but my gums. They’re torn to shreds. Sugar, like fragments of mountain rock, will do that to you.

Then I went to bed. Dreamed about food, as it happens. Woke up gagging. That’s how I ended up here.

And in a months time, I’ll be here again, right after venturing to three other peaks (three this time, I promise) in one day in Yorkshire. I’ll be here. Exhausted, overfull, slightly nauseous and severely sleepy. You’ll find me right here.

Me, my dad, three mountains, sore mouths and four empty packets of Maoams.


About the author

Emily Wilcox

I am a writer. I imagine in a parallel universe I might be a caricaturist or a botanist or somewhere asleep on the moon. But here I am a writer, armed with an astrophysics degree, a Paperchase pen and a half empty box of biscuits

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  • Babs Iverson2 months ago


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