01 June 2013

Mist; No. 1 Line

A combination of work and weather meant I'd last been for a walk to the top of the No. 1 Line track a week ago. The forecast looks bad until later next week, so I knew if I didn't get up there today, I'd either be walking in the rain or skipping the walk for another week. Neither prospect appealed, so this afternoon I packed a few items — including, of course, tea brewing gear — and set off.

Light rain set in about a third of the way up the track, so I pulled on a parka and carried on. At the top, everything was saturated, and although the rain had stopped, I'd climbed well up inside the cloud. This is the view from the lookout, where I usually settle down to brew Lapsang Souchong, write, scan the far mountainside through binoculars (and not infrequently see deer), and enjoy the solitude. I've been up here so often it feels like home.

Today, though, the afternoon felt so caliginous that I decided not to linger. I took the camera out briefly, then paid my respects to the place and headed back down. The Lapsang Souchong could wait for next time — and besides, I had a new package of exquisite teas waiting at home.

I made my way down the cold mountain, thinking of Han Shan and tea.

[1 June 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 16 mm, ISO 200, 1/10 at f16]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor


Zhoen said...

Hot tea on a cold, wet day, probably best in a snug place. But you had the right tea with you.

Eerie photo.

butuki said...

I know what you mean about discomfort of rain on a ridge. Hard to keep your mind on the world around you, instead of constantly turning inward upon your comfort. Though there is something about holing up in a shelter or a hollow, with the rain outside, and moments of sleep, or just sipping at that hot cup of tea...

Still have to look up the word caliginous. Hope it has nothing to do with the emperor!

butuki said...

I've come to love Prince of Wales tea over the last two years. Wonderfully dark flavor.

Relatively Retiring said...

A wise move and a great atmospheric photograph.

Anonymous said...

Caliginous - a new word for me. Preferable to "misty".

The colors are amazing.

PS These lines from Gary Snyder's translation of Han Shan, The Cold Mountain seem a fitting description of your venture.


In the mountains it's cold.

Always been cold, not just this year.

Jagged scarps forever snowed in

Woods in the dark ravines spitting mist.

Grass is still sprouting at the end of June,

Leaves begin to fall in early August.

And here I am, high on mountains,

Peering and peering, but I can't even see the sky.

Elephant's Child said...

This is a stunning illustration of 'The Cold Mountain'. I envy you having this spot as a second home. And yes, a tea in surroundings like that would be sublime (on a drier day).

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, Lapsang Souchong does seem particularly suited to this environment. Some others, although exquisite at home, seem too subtle for this place.

Miguel, that's it — if you can find a way to shelter from the weather, the tea can taste even better. Prince of Wales is apparently a blend of Keemun teas, and used to be one of my favourites before I discovered Jo's excellent teas.

RR, thank you. Plenty of atmosphere up there — most of it liquid!

Maureen, thanks for the Han Shan lines. Very fitting indeed.

EC, thank you. If I'd had more time and something to rig as a simple shelter, I might have been tempted to stay and brew the tea. Another time, perhaps.

Ruahines said...

Kia Ora Pete,
Sigh... I can feel the ethereal silence of the mist. A place I love. Looking forward to returning in due course. Hope you enjoyed the cup of tea e hoa.

pohanginapete said...

Nga mhi nui ki a koe, Robb. I got back up there yesterday (Monday) and had a wonderful, peaceful time, enjoying the Lapsang Souchong, writing, scanning the mountainsides with the binoculars, and generally making the most of the solitude. It'd be pretty grim up there now, though.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

I came to this post late, but I'll be contemplating it for quite some time. The mountains, whether cold and foggy or sultry and blue (the Blue Ridge of the Appalachians is breathtaking), are a fitting place for tea, a drink prepared with ceremony. For me it is gunpowder green tea, even over my beloved Irish Breakfast. I find it a little amusing that I prefer the gunpowder, given that I'm named for the patron saint of artillerymen ;0 Thanks, Pete and take care.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you, Barbara. If you like the gunpowder green tea, try a good Oolong some time. In the mountains I usually stick with black teas though, because the water temperature's easier to judge. Oolongs and green teas need lower temperatures — they can be ruined by boiling water.