The Tharali Mist  

chris pouch

The Tharali Mist swept up the valley most mornings an hour after sunrise. The mist would reach around a corner or curve lower down in the valley and we would see it and know it was coming. It always came slowly, giving us time to enjoy the last of the morning sun.

The big mountains and blue sky were beautiful, but the mist, with its deep gray billowing and cold damp, was also beautiful. When it obscured the valley, we put on gloves and hats and gathered our things to begin walking. Each day, we went further up the valley, following the flowing air.

A stream rushed down through the valley, and a faint path, seldom traveled, meandered alongside. The ground was rocky and uneven, but volumes of thin grasses gave the landscape a look of smoothness. In the mornings, we would see clouds of snow being whipped from freezing summits in the distance. From the mountains that cradled the valley, glaciers trailed downhill and occasionally made cracking noises that echoed all around.

We often caught glimpses of animals darting and creeping among the ridges and ravines of the valley as they, too, traveled with the current of air. In other valleys, animals would be tucked away in hiding holes until dark, but here they were not afraid of the low-lit daytime. We’d see their figures standing still on top of rocks as they smelled the air and surveyed, and then a thick vein of mist would flow by and they’d be gone.

At times, snow squalls or light rain stirred through the thick air. On the cold days, our breath would be steam and become part of the steady ensemble as it flowed up, up, up to the top of the valley.

Chris Pouch is a student at the University of Albany and an outdoor activities enthusiast. He enjoys spending time with his two dogs, and likes to play soccer and tennis. His favorite foods are plain chocolate and raspberries.