But I feel badly about not being part of the team that made the trip. I wimped out.2 Jane advised me to stay behind, and she clearly gave me the right advice. Even if I'd been able to make it up the most difficult climbs, even if I hadn't slowed the team much,3 we still would have been on the trail much later than I would have been comfortable with. They didn't return to the car until 6:15, and sunset is around 5:30. Had I been there, I would have been getting very anxious and upset. Jane was clearly right (as usual). It was best for me to stay behind.
Still, I can't help but feel badly about wimping out. It reminds me that as much as I enjoy being with the field team collecting these data, I'm not really part of the team. I'm an optional accessory. It helps me greatly to have a better feel for the plants by being here, and I'm sure that feel will help a lot as we begin to analyze and interpret the data we collect here, but when I write "the data we collected here" what you should read is "the data that Jane, Caroline, Mark, and Christopher collected and that I recorded."
Written: Sunday, 8 July, Hlalanathi Berg Resort
1We know it's different from what we've seen. We don't know if it's a Pelargonium.
2If they read this, Jane and Rachel will remember other times when I really wimped out. I don't feel as badly about this one.
3When only one person at a time can make an ascent or descent on a stretch of trail, adding anyone, even a strong climber, will slow the team down.