Today’s Miles: 15.7
Total Miles: 3,506.8
Luino, Italy – December 30, 2016
I crawl out of my tent before dawn. Dawn is already brightening the eastern sky as I pack up and run a few hundred yards back, racing the rising sun to the summit.
A cloud sea stretches below me, filling in the valleys. The sky above is clear, still dark, waiting for the sun to turn it blue. The Alps rise, sharp and jagged in the distance, crisp against the clear sky. Near mountains are all dirt and stone, far ones shimmer white with snow.
The first rays catch the tallest peaks, setting them on fire. To the south the Poe valley stretches out under the haze of fog, low and flat. I stare at the jagged, snow-capped teeth of the Alps. I think of Hannibal and his elephants, of Roman armies, of the Devil’s bridge and old roads built through the cracks between mountains.
I really did it, I say.
I stare at the flat expanse to the south, the next horizon, and catch a faint pyramid in the distance, rising above the plain. It’s so faint it almost disappears as I stare, fading in and out from imagination to reality. Monte Viso, rising behind Torino, over a hundred miles away, waiting where the Alps curve around toward the sea.
The mountains aren’t finished with me, not yet, I think. They’re waiting in the distance, waiting with that rocky spire on the horizon, stretching to meet me by the sea.