The climb up the mountain was surprisingly uneventful. Castor and Anneli started to climb early in the morning while it was still dark and the stars were out. Anneli said climbing when it is colder is easier but Castor knew it was because he did not want to run into anyone on the way. As they ascended the steps that were roughly cut in the side of the mountain Castor began to notice ribbons and cloth that were tied to bushes and branches on either side of th path.
“What are those for?” asked Castor pointing at a shrub covered in red, yellow and white ribbons. Anneli stopped and looked at the shrub. He shrugged and replied, “I don’t know it is just something people do.” Anneli seemed uninterested in the strange tradition as if it were some pointless idiosyncratic behavior.
“Many people climb the mountain in late summer when most of the snow near the top has melted,” continued Anneli, “they come in herds to scale the mountain and leave those ribbons along their path as they do. I thought for awhile that it was to mark their path so they do not get lost but there is only one path up the mountain so that can’t be right. I thought maybe it is to know where the edge of the path is in the dark but the days are long in summer and it takes less than half a day to reach the top. ”
“There must be a reason,” said Castor.
“probably but I doubt it is for any sort of practicality.”