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The Winter Warlock

On the way to Nimaling, our highest and coldest campsite, we began a steep uphill. As I trudged up the hill painfully slowly while marmots scurried past me, the song “Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other” from Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town popped into my head. Despite the song’s jolly tune, it made me frustrated and my steps began to resemble a child stomping while having a tantrum. When we reached the top of the hill, a small frozen lake came into view, and Tashi, our guide, announced that we would take a break. I collapsed back into the snow against my backpack and lay there with my heart full of evil and anger like the Winter Warlock. I struggled to regain my breath while yanking my Nalgene out from the side of my backpack until I heard the distinct sound of the rustling of chocolate bar wrappers. I sat up quickly and saw Tashi passing them out. When he handed me my cherished Munch bar, it was as though Tashi was Kris Kringle and my chocolate bar was a toy train. My frown turned into a childish grin, and my frustration turned into delight. My delirium was likely a mix of exhaustion from the trek and watching too many reruns of Kris Kringle classics as a kid, but I am glad I was able to enjoy the magic (or irony) of that moment.