Milky white peaks charmed their senses.
The early morning still had that fresh prick of cold in it, despite the sun rising ever earlier. The fresh promise of the dawn compensated for this exhilarating discomfort. Nervous but joyful laughter gently moved the air as they gathered. Unseen for now they all knew there was a mountain waiting them and they were keen to get the early stages out of the way.
The light fog above and beyond slowly cleared as heat seeped into the sun and the gentle green slopes gave way to steeper, plainer ground. Now the magnificent peak was clear to see, both intimidating and welcoming. Mid morning and a brief stop to brew some coffee which burst onto their taste-buds in a way that suggested they were hungrier than they realised.
Here was wild garlic underfoot, the homely aroma that seems to expand and fill the air lifted their spirits and their hunger. Six and a half hours walking and it was time to eat. For them, in that moment, the simple food tasted like very heaven. The easy part was behind them.
Silently they marched on, this section strenuous but not hard. The real difficulties lay ahead and they each thought their own thoughts about the challenges yet to come, as they listened to each other’s breathing and to the bird song.
Finally, the rock under-hand cold and hard to the touch, they tasted the pure clean air of the true high mountains.