Week 7: Svolvaer to San Francisco

With no time to lose, I reached up above my head and grasped the last granite boulder separating me from the summit, but my heart instantly lurched as I heard the rock scrape against the stone beneath it and saw it begin to slide towards me! Desperately, I threw all my weight behind my hand, pushing back on the rock to attempt to stop its descent. My toes nearly lost their purchase on the hillside, but the boulder gained enough friction and ground to a tentative halt. One by one, I lifted my fingers delicately away, and I dared to release my inheld breath. That chunk of stone could have crushed me like a potato chip and brought an end to fun and games in Norway.

With great care, I worked my way around the overhanging hazard and found a less obvious route to the summit, but before I could take in the views of the Lofoten Islands, I realized I had a huge decision to make. That boulder was now a veritable booby trap, resting in such a fragile position that it would almost certainly squash the next unwitting hiker who laid a hand upon it. I should push it down the hill and defuse the dangerous situation, but the slope was so steep and uniformly level that the boulder would effortlessly roll the complete length of the mountain, picking up speed and smashing into the seaside highway. Too much traffic was rushing by, and a direct hit on a vehicle would be fatal; even a near-miss could cause a deadly accident. To make matters worse, the rock would land right at the entrance to a tunnel, so even if I blindly managed to avoid striking any exiting automobiles, they could still emerge and collide with the boulder before they had a chance to see it.

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