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Hummel Meets the Mountain

The Story of
the First (and Only)
All-American, All-Cat
Himalayan Expedition


"Tell us the story of Hummel and the mountain" begged the kittens. Crisfield and Marko had actually known Hummel only briefly, in his final years, before he passed on. But they never tired of hearing tales of his glory days. The bald guy and the long haired girl seemed hesitant at first.

"But you've heard it so many times before."

"See Cris, I told you they wouldn't do it again", howled Marko. Crisfield swatted his ear playfully. Grey Flame and Purple Horse, the older, more mature cats, just sat and rolled their eyes.

Sean, a little boy who was a very good friend of the kittens, would have none of it. "Come now, you promised to tell it again." And so they gave in; secretly they loved the story and could retell it forever.

"Once", started the Bald Headed Guy, "there lived a cat named Hummel." And then he and the Long Haired girl began to weave the tale. And the kittens listened, as in a trance.

Chapter 1: Hummel's Town

Hummel lived in Washington, D.C., the capital of our nation. Washington is an interesting town with lots to do for humans. However Hummel is a cat and many of the events and activities that regularly occur are not for cats. Still, despite this handicap, Hummel got around. He was known as a top cat in town.

For example, Hummel was a regular at the chess tables at Dupont Circle since he lived nearby. His house was a large Victorian townhouse built in the 1890's. He shared it with his Aunt Tabby Cat, his four brothers and sisters, a bald headed guy, a long haired girl, and several other humans and cats. It was a happy house and Hummel enjoyed living there. He even had his address memorized, 1409 21st Street, although it was written on a tag he carried around his neck.

But despite outward appearances of contentment, something was disturbing Hummel. You see Hummel was an adventurer at heart and he hadn't had any new adventures in a long time. He had climbed every tree in the neighborhood. He had even climbed the big Oak that was on 19th Street.

He had gone to Capital Hill to climb the trees there. One day he jumped out of a very big tree right onto a fat congressmans head. Now that caused quite a stir, as you might well imagine.

He then looked for new things to climb. Telephone poles were no challenge at all. Buildings were interesting because they were all different, but with a little study, they too became boring. In short, he had soon climbed everything in town.

One day Hummel received a phone call from his friend Alphonse who lived in California. It seems that Alphonse had had the same problem but found a solution.

"Hummel," he said, "we have some very very big trees out here. They are called Redwood trees and they are higher than you can imagine. Why don't you come out here and I will give you a tour of the best climbs around?"

Now this sparked Hummels interest but, after thinking about it for awhile, he decided that a tree was a tree and once you've climbed one tree, you've climbed them all. No, something else was needed.

One day he was watching the TV. Hummel didn't usually watch TV since he preferred doing things rather than watching them. But, the weather outside was terrible. It was, in fact, raining cats and dogs, an expression that Hummel found distasteful so, as cats do, he had curled up for a long nap when the bald headed guy and the long haired girl came running in.

"There is a show about mountain climbing coming on. Why don't you watch it with us, Hummel?"

Hummel yawned lazily but consented to keep an open eye on the show. And a good thing he did! It was a great show. There were pictures of a mounaineering expedition to the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. They showed climbers on many of the really big peaks. This had Hummel thinking.

"Maybe this is the kind of adventure I really need."

Then the TV show told about some of the great peaks that had never been climbed, even by humans. One was called Macchupachere. When Hummel heard that this name meant fish tail in Nepali he got very excited. And when he saw a picture of the peak he was hooked. Hummel, you see, loved fish.

"I want to go to Nepal to climb Macchupachere," he calmly announced.

The bald headed guy and the long haired girl looked at each other. "He'll get over it," they thought.

Hummel didn't get over it. Instead he called his good friend Winston, who lives in Colorado. He knew that Winston had accompanied his humans on walks in the mountains there. After Hummel told him his idea Winston didn't know what to think. He liked the idea but was just a little skeptical.

"Hummel," he said, "you know we are the best of buddies. And you know I trust you completely. But this sounds like something bigger than any cat has ever done."

"You are right Winston," Hummel replied, carefully choosing his next words, "it will be bigger than anything done by cats before. Not even a human has ever climbed Macchupachere. But I just know we can do it."

"Count me in then ... I will pack and fly to Washington this week."

Chapter 2: Climb What?

Now that Winston was coming Hummel felt alot better. He went to the library and started reading all the books he could find about climbing. He then went to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to talk to the people in their Mountaineering Section. They were quite perplexed by Hummel, but he was used to that. As a cat he often ran into humans who didn't understand him.

They showed him their files on Macchupachere and he read about all the previous expeditions to the mountain. He made xerox copies of all the pictures and drawings of the mountain and penciled in the routes that had already been tried. He also found out that the mountain was holy to the Nepali people and, for this reason, was now off limits for climbing.

He was not deterred. With this information he went home to talk with the bald guy. Hummel knew that the bald guy and the long haired girl were climbers themselves. And, even though they had never climbed 'the big mountains', their experience would prove helpful in the planning of his trip.

"You want to climb what?"

The bald guy just couldn't believe that Hummel was serious. "Hummel, I know you are quite a cat. You are brave, you are strong, and you are wise. That is why you are top cat in town. But climbing in the Himalayan mountains is very very difficult. And there won't be anyone around to open cans of Gourmet Delite for you."

Hummel knew the bald guy would act like that. But he also knew how to handle the bald guy. He told him that he was aware that it would be very hard but that he was ready for anything. He told him that Winston was flying east to help in planning. He also told him about all his research and about the route on Macchupachere he thought they could climb.

The bald guy was very impressed. "But Hummel, I am too busy now to go with you."

"I know," Hummel replied, "that is the way I want it. This will be an all cat expedition. But I would like you and the long haired girl to help us with the preparations. This is something that has become very important to me and I will work hard to make this climb possible. If you do not want to help, we will try on our own. But I would like you to be a part of my dream."

Of course the bald guy was pleased that Hummel wanted him involved in the expedition. He knew Hummel well and he knew that once Hummel set his sights on something he was not easily deterred.

"Okay Hummel, lets get to work."

If you enjoyed the start of the Hummel Mountaineering story please Let Us Know. We will be putting the rest of the book on the Web with some great photos of the peaks and images of the expeditioneers. Check back to keep in touch with Hummel.

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