man vs mountain

Salkantay is a mountain in Peru and is an alternative trek you can take on your way to Machu Picchu.  The word Salkantay can be translated as wild, savage, uncivilisied or invincible.  It stands at its highest 6,264m above sea level.  It watches and faces down those that trek to Machu Picchu.  It shear present intimidates you as you first capture its strength and glare.  It rises out of the ground, white tipped and divides the region.  On one side you travel up a valley, climbing its back as you make the way to the edge of this mountain.  It stands separating you from the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu forcing you around and back down onto the edge of the Amazon and its humid rainforests.

I call this man Vs mountain not as some personal challenge that I could conquer but more at the attempt we humans try in harnessing and bending nature to our will.  Our best efforts merely scratch the surface of this planet.  We focus on the damage we are doing to the planet, what our impact is on this earth, but really it is small compared to what is already here.  Our impact is small compared to the length and the experiences of this mountain.  Our damage isn’t what we are doing to the planet but what we will do to ourselves.

We cut trees, bridge rivers and lay steel upon the soil.  As strong as our attempts are in changing nature, nature will change us.

Seeing Salkantay for the first time I realised just how strong this planet is and how little we can damage it.  The worst what we can put it through is nothing compared to what this planet has already seen.

Through our own version of making progress we impact on the ground.  We change the conditions and this changes the environment.  Salkantay shows us these changes especially through receding Glaciers exposing centuries old skin.

Try as we might through logging, building new rail and roads and through over development, as much damage as we are inflicting on this planet, and while the face that wears these scars is nature, nature will return, nature will take control and while as we would like to think that in a struggle between man Vs mountain that we would prevail, we will not.  We will loose and pay the cost and eventually nature will again reign supreme.

Our fight isn’t with nature, it isn’t with climate change, it needs to be with ourselves and our own nature, to change that will allow us to live under the reign of nature and to be provided for, as we have for centuries and will be for centuries more.


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