1 Mount Pilatus
In the sweltering heat, Pat pushed his way over another boulder. Finding a level piece of ground he sat down, leaning against the massive rock of the mountain he was climbing. The sun scorched him mercilessly. As he sat there, he contemplated where he was going.
“I’m crazy!”, he thought, “Who in his right mind would undertake such a journey, for this particular reason?” Wiping dripping sweat from his brow, he reached for a bottle in his rucksack to have a drink of water.
It wasn’t the fact that he was hiking up this mountain, hikers did it all the time, and there were probably hundreds at various stages and heights right now. No, it wasn’t the hike which made this climb seem so unusual, so insane. It was Pat’s reason for climbing.
He shook his head again in disbelief at himself. How could he believe such tales. What if all of it was simply that: just tales? Old legends from long ago without any truth or foundation. Yet he felt a deep resolve inside him, the determination to continue, to keep on climbing. He had to know. And the only way to be sure was to go up this mountain.
The mountain itself was shrouded in mystery. Many legends held visitors captive. Stories were told of fierce storms, a mysterious small lake atop its peak, a missing corpse and yes…..there were the old legends of dragons. Mount Pilatus was famous for its dragons.
But then again, so were many other mountains in Switzerland and around the world. Why were there so many stories of these fiery, flying creatures all over the earth? And why were there no signs of them today? Not even a skeleton or a fossil. Nothing, except for their stories.
It was those secrets that kept the visitors coming, traveling up the cog train that was the steepest in Europe, with its red dragon painted on the ceilings of all the station buildings along its route. Towering over the city of Lucerne and the lake at its foot, Pilatus held tight to its past, unwilling to reveal it all to even the most determined and thorough investigators. It was exactly those mysteries that drove Pat upward, along the sides of this mass of rock, alone and against his better judgment.
Why did his path seem to be the one exposed to the sun all day? It was beaming down relentlessly on his uncovered head. He just wasn’t prepared for this weather.
Inexperienced in hiking, Pat’s English city upbringing did not equip him with the necessary skills and know-how to traverse the giant rock. Truthfully, he had never been much of a sporty person, and until recently work had kept him at the office most of the time. ‘Had’ being the operative word, for the business he had jointly owned with his friend Jonathan ceased to exist. The Swiss financial authorities had seen to that, and he lost everything: His income, his business, his life’s savings, and his reputation. Right here and now, it seemed, that he had also lost his sanity.
Looking up the side of the mountain he asked himself: Why, why am I here? What do I hope to find? What if there isn’t anything to be found? I know, many have searched before and found nothing? … Read more in the book