I made a few more abortive attempts to get past the boulder and its attendant thorn bush. No go. So I started working my way up the Right Hand Wall again. I was kissing this stupid wall enough to think we’d have to marry. My skills were not up to getting up this thing, so I eventually found myself standing next to one of the pylons that supported the I-beams that supported the tracks. There was a little shade, and a little place to stand and time to reflect on what it would take to get onto the tracks from here.

The tracks, you remember, are easily got onto down at the train station. They touch the ground, there.

They don’t touch the ground here, they’re suspended well over the ground. Heck, I’m way up on this stupid rock wall and they’re still above my head. So, from the look of things, if I decided to take my last option and climb the ladder bolted up under the incline train tracks, here’s what I’d have to do: Belly up onto the top of this pylon I’m in the shadow of now. Get my balance. Walk, run, crawl or scoot out along an I-beam. Work my way over the tracks. Get onto the ladder, avoiding the big greasy cables that run along with it. Climb all the way to the top of the gorge.

Both simple and complex. The simple part is climbing a ladder. We’ve all climbed a ladder. It’s easy! Why wouldn’t I climb a ladder? Well, this one’s at a hard angle. I’d have to support my weight on my arms and my legs. Still, I could stop and rest along the way. But I’d have to GET there, and that involves scootching out along an I-beam that’s well off the rocky, thorny, rotten, stupid, WHERE THE HELL IS MY BOAT, MY PADDLE AND MY FRIENDS? DAMMIT, THIS IS NOT FUNNY!

After calming down, I more calmly and carefully explained to God (The great cartoonist in the sky) that THIS isn’t funny. Badly written. I said all this out loud to Him, and why not? I said all this very calmly and carefully because you don’t want to upset Him, not here and not now. So. Having said my say, I did what most people in a hard spot do. I climbed up onto a pylon to get a better look at what kind of gag he’d written me into. Okay, not what most people do in a hard spot. I’m just pointing out how hard a spot this is.

From the top of the pylon, the fall off the I-beam was looking pretty inevitable. Plus, my luck wasn’t going so well. Plus, there was a hell of a lot of track to crab-walk up even if I scootched out to the ladder, which looked farther away than ever, anyhow.

On the other hand, I thought, I can see up along the crack a lot better up here, let’s pick a route and see… Ahhh, nuts. The climb up this crack on terra firma (terra sonofabitcha) looks bad. Really, really bad.

So. Vertigo and head injury, or twisted ankles and broken limbs?

I had nearly decided to take the slow, painful death by rock wall, when the unthinkable happened.

The train started to ascend the track.

Okay. Train is moving. If I quit pissing and moaning, crawl out onto this I-beam as fast as I can, I can meet the train going up, grab on, swing myself onto it, and ride in comfort all the way to the top. Heck, this may even be that someone at the top has seen me and they’re rescuing me! This is GREAT!

Does this sound too good to be true to you?

Yeah, we’ll discuss that in part 7.