Enjoyable Failure

        It puts a serious damper on your ability to climb volcanoes if you sleep in, relax, read a bit, and then snooze in a hammock until 2 in the afternoon. Today's dampers on my trek of Volcan Maderas include hiking in the near-dark (with 2 weak headlights) after a failed summit attempt, wondering if I've lost the trail, whether the bats swooping near me are the vampire bats I've heard about "mostly sticking to livestock," what "mostly sticking to livestock" means, what the loud noises in the woods are coming from, and what glows like a large orange firefly.
        Of course, I make it back safely. The most danger I'm in is when I wander near-kickably behind a family's horse after losing track of the path by their house. They follow with flashlights leading me until I hit the main road.
        Obviously, I would have preferred to summit today and yesterday. But, when I really think about it, I'm very much OK saying "I climbed most of the way up 2 different volcanoes in the last 2 days." In the theme of Tom Hodgkinson's gardening in "The Freedom Manifesto" (finished it today; HIGHLY recommended), exploring and pushing yourself are something you can't get too wrong: decide you're having a good time, happy with what you're doing, and poverty or a "failed" summit can be more than OK. I plan to have a lot of both and love every second of them.
        Full disclosure: I may be cheating: there's a beautiful little redhead who's been reading in her hammock all day waiting for me back at the hostel.

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