By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

My best friend and I both had to work the day after our high school graduation, so we couldn’t attend any of the many graduation parties that our classmates held afterwards. The two of us decided that we’d celebrate on the two days I could get off from my part-time job. My friend worked on his dad’s farm and their peak harvest would be over by then.

 

We borrowed his dad’s 4WD truck and rented a cabin in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We arrived there in the afternoon, grilled some steaks and killed the bottle of whiskey he’d swiped from his home.

 

Early the next morning we headed out to the slopes of Mauna Kea to play in the snow near the summit. We parked near the summit and got out and started walking up the road towards the snow field. Both of us were dressed in our work clothes and I think I was wearing an old army jacket at the time. We had on our steel-toed work boots and leather work gloves. We also took along a piece of plywood for sledding.

 

As we walked up the hill, we saw a group of five or six climbers in orange uniforms wearing helmets walking together in a line linked together with a rope. As we got closer we could see that they had oxygen tanks on their backs and had oxygen masks on. They all carried pickaxes that they were using as canes. The man in the lead had some kind of flag he was carrying.

 

We overtook them and they stared at us in disbelief! We noticed that they were all Japanese climbers. Both of us managed to hold in our laughter until we’d passed them and then we cracked up!

 

They must have thought we were supermen or something because we didn’t need oxygen. We had no equipment and were dressed in work clothes. Still, in all fairness, Mauna Kea is a mountain with a 13,803′ elevation which would probably make someone looking only at its height want to prepare a little. Not to mention that back in 1971 the mountain was still probably not very well known in Japan…

 

道具の揃い過ぎ

親友と私は二人共卒業式の翌日明朝から仕事があったので同級生達の数多くの卒業パーティーの1つにも参加できなかった。その代わり、私がバイトから休める2日間に自分らのパーティーをするように決めた。親友はご両親の農場に働いていたので丁度そのときならトマトの盛り収穫が終わるのでいいチャンスだった。

 

ハワイ火山国立公園内のキャビンを予約した。彼のお父さんの4輪駆動トラックを借りて、夕方近くにキャビンに着いた。そこでステーキをバーベキューして彼が家から『借りた』ウイスキーの1本を空にした。

 

翌朝、2人が早く起きてマウナケア山へ出発した。頂上周辺の雪遊びは目的だった。頂上近くにトラックを駐車して、雪の積もった斜面への道を歩き始めた。2人は作業服を着ており、私は古いアーミー・ジャケットを着ていたと覚えている。作業用の安全長靴を履いて、手には仕事用の皮手袋をはめていた。そりに使う板も運んでいた。

 

急坂道を上ると少し遠くに56人のオレンジ色の山登り服とヘルメット姿の団体が見えてきた。一列になって、ロープで繋いでいた。近づくと、皆は酸素ボンベを背負っている、そして酸素マスクをつけていることも分かった。全員は山登り用のピカックスを持って杖として使っていた。先頭の方は何らかの旗も持っていた。

 

2人は彼らを追い越したときに私らを信じられない目で見ていた!チラッと見ると、日本人だと分かった。2人は少し距離をおくまで笑いを必死で抑えた。聴こえないだろうと思ったところで2人の笑いが止まらなかった!

 

彼らは私達はスーパーマンと思っただろう。酸素も背負っていないし、作業服を着ている、山登り道具もないしかし、ハワイ島のマウナケア山は4,207メートルの山(富士山は3,776メートル)で海抜だけを知る人なら誤解は理解できるし、1971年にはその山は日本で、まだ未知の世界だったかも知らない…

By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

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English books by Billy Hammond published by AELS

(AELS出版英語書籍リスト)

 

I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers

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