I may or may not have contracted some form of con lurgy despite barely managing an attendance. (Turns out a con in your home town? Surprisingly inconvenient. The dayjob expects you to earn your keep, instead of swanning around pretending you're a real grown-up writer.)1
So instead of actual, you know, content, on the producing of which my brain cannot focus because it keeps whispering that whisky would surely help our current circumstances, I give you photographic evidence of the Mongolian volcano what broke me, and bit me on the way down for good measure:
The black shadow covering the lower third to half of the slopes is made up of fist- to head-sized rocks of black pumice, packed ankle to mid-shin deep. Initially I was concerned about the steepness of the slope winding me and making me too slow. The steepness wasn't a tenth of the problem that the lack of secure footing turned out to be.
I made it about a third of the way up, by which point I'd fallen quite a way behind all my surer-footed companions — and fallen so many times my dodgy ankle was considering how best it might club me unconscious and drag me back down to less challenging terrain. That was the point I realised that getting back down was always more difficult than climbing up in the first place, and if my ankle twisted itself one more time I was going to have to come down riding on someone's back. Or scooting on my backside the whole way.
So I turned back. And I was right: coming down was much, much harder. I should totally have commandeered a piggyback, because as it happened I ended up falling, slipping, sliding, riding a wave of tumbling pumice, and, yes, scooting down on my backside a good portion of the way. I'm counting myself lucky that my only real injury was a mildly-aching ankle and a palm gashed open by a toothy chunk of pumice.
- Probably just as well. Not sure I could've pulled off that sort of pretence for more than half a day anyway. [↩]