My trusty sidekick Chris 'Repman Jr.' and I have been hiking and climbing Scotland's breathtakingly beautiful Isle of Skye this week.
The chamber of commerce weather has been picture perfect (bright sunshine and daytime temperatures right around freezing). But, come nighttime, which at this latitude begins at about 3:30 p.m., duck and cover. The winds begin howling and the temperatures drop faster than the NY Jets winning percentage.
Our resolute guide, Peter Khambatta suggested we stay several nights in a bothy in order to fully experience a Scottish highlands trek. My goodness. Talk about a trip back in time. The bothy in which we slept is a small, compact stone hut with four tiny sleeping rooms and one fireplace. There is no running water, heat or electricity. One sleeps on the floor in one's sleeping bag, collects firewood along the beach and cooks a spare dinner around 6 p.m. (which feels like midnight since its been dark for so long). And, when nature calls at about 2 a.m., one braves the sub-zero wind chills to accomplish the task at hand.
After dinner and conversation, we did what people did for centuries prior to the invention of all our modern conveniences: we piled on layers of clothes, snuggled inside sleeping bags and hunkered down to snooze (which, after six hours of arduous climbing came rather easily).
I cannot tell you how much the bothy enhanced the overall experience. It was so austere, so remote and so unforgiving that I half expected to see a Viking war ship turn the corner near the Isle of Rum across the Irish Sea and begin heading our way. But, the bothy was also way cool in a manner that defies this blogger's best attempts to describe it.
Trips that test endurance and everyday niceties accomplish two things for me: they totally refresh my mind (i.e. does losing an account really matter in the grand scheme of things?) and, second, it further increases my admiration and respect for the hardiness of those who came before us.
That said, I'm looking forward to returning to all the creature comforts and mindless entertainment that America can provide.