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Altitude problem

Do you ever wonder what’s wrong with some trails? You show up and you’re the same Oscar you’ve always been, but this trail is all wrong and ruins your day.

Mom and I camped in a traditional ceremonial area, under the shade of a beautiful historic billboard advertising sandwiches, where the ground was littered with ancient artifacts. “Look, Mom! Are these arrowheads?!” I asked, looking at a dozen slivers sticking out of the earth. “No, they’re broken beer bottles. Get away from there,” she said, shooing me back into the Covered Wagon.




Since the trail was flat, we started jogging unenthusiastically, hoping to find something nice to look at. “Mom, I feel like someone put my body on mute,” I said. “I can’t hear my leg muscles.” Mom was also running like she had the emergency brake on and was losing momentum with every step. “It’s the altitude, I think,” she said. She wasn’t gasping or out of breath, but her voice sounded thinner and weaker, like her batteries were going flat. “We’re above 7000 feet. I think… maybe… we’re going uphill too.” I looked around but didn’t see a single mountain. How could we be that high up on flat land? “No way. You’re just looking for an excuse for how lame you are.”





“Mom, why didn’t that lady see what bad juju there is here?” I asked. “I think maybe we’re just tired,” Mom said. “We’ve been pushing pretty hard for over 2 weeks now, and we’re probably dehydrated. As much fun as it is to explore things, sometimes it’s a better adventure to sit and look up at things. There are situations where you miss the best of something if you’re standing on top of it.” This seemed like the sort of lesson that was worth discussing more, but now that I was nested in the blankets, it felt much more important to let Mom concentrate on the road.

Oscar the Slouch


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