The mountainous areas are mostly barren, or at most remain sparsely sprinkled with trees and stunted
From atop the ridgeline, the view of the surrounding area quickly deteriorating as the morning progressed. The haze seemed thicker the higher we climbed and obscured the higher mountain tops in the distance. On the opposite side of the ridge, a vast expanse of desert plain lay before us, apparently an unfriendly area to our coalition forces.
The previous night’s rain had made the usually dusty climb more tolerable than normal, however, resulting in a number of other adventurers braving the cold to reach the peak. Joining us at the top were several Brits, one Lithuanian, a team of FBI agents, and several contractors, many of whom were also on their first trek up the mountain. Although some of the climbers had dressed in PT gear, I noticed most were armed, with some even wearing their armored vests. By the time I had reached the top, I was certainly glad I’d left my vest behind.
While taking in the view, we noticed several individuals climbing an area of the mountain that was unmarked and without trail. Using the magnified scope atop my rifle as a makeshift set of binoculars, I determined the people were simply collecting firewood and placing it in cloth bundles strapped across their backs. I had no idea where they came from and even less of an idea where they were headed to after reaching their limits.