Friday, July 25, 2008
Don't take a knife to a gun fight!!
It's been difficult finding time to sit at my computer and update the blog...but now I have sometime, so here goes.
Our trip from NC to CO was a blast...we got to spend some much needed time together and do some pretty amazing things. I want to tell you about the most memorable. Long's Peak. After our exploring of Denver and Boulder we decided to do some hiking and backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in northern Colorado. At some point we opted for a hike up Long's Peak with some camping at a place called Boulderfield. Let's just say we had no idea what we were doing!
The first warning sign came when I read this...the number one suggestion for hiking "high peaks" is "Be in excellent physical condition." I didn't bother to read the others b/c I didn't want to be discouraged. We are NOT in excellent physical condition...I'm not even sure what that looks like. But, we go on...at the Ranger Station the most precious old man gives us our Backcountry Permit and tells us about the hike. He has such confidence in us and our ability to do this thing. We have all the gear so we are looking the part for sure!!
Let me back up...in June when I called they said it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to hike this thing. We start at around 9,000 feet and are carrying ridiculously heavy packs. We are off and excited about this adventure. As we climb in elevation it becomes more and more difficult. We see others along the way-passing us with small packs. We pass a variety of people. "We can totally do this...that 65 year old woman we just passed did it, we can too." So, 6 and a half hours and 6 miles later we reach Boulderfield...our campsite. It is exactly what it is...a field of ginormous boulders with 6 or so camp sites. Let me also say that along the way we met some very kind folks and saw a herd of Elk playing in snow, along with Marmots...or varmots as older folks say.
We set up camp, purify some waters, and eat some dinner. We are now at around 12,000 feet. We kinda sleep, then wake up to begin the rest of our adventure to the summit. This too attracts all kinds of people---ranging from 8 to 70 and older!! People are actually descending as we begin at 9am!! The "path" is marked by a red & yellow bulls-eye. There is the "trough" and the "narrows" which are frightening! There were countless times I was paralyzed by fear. But, the beauty we encountered pushed us forward. We had to do this!! We got this far, plus if you could see the people who were doing it too. So, along the way we begin to hear from other folks..."this is one of the hardest 14ners in Colorado...there are 52" or "I've done 10 14ners and this is the hardest one." At this point I am wondering what the heck we are doing. Who's idea was this anyway?!
After a few hours we make it to the summit...a mile from our campsite, but 14,250 feet in elevation. It's the highest peak in RMNP. It was beautiful and a major accomplishment, but the summit didn't necessarily have the best view. The sights we saw along the way were evidence to me that God loves me...that He created these mountains to reveal himself to us. And He gave them to us to enjoy and maybe even "conquer." But the process of the whole thing is what still sticks with me. It's not about how long or short it takes to get there, but what you see and experience along the way. Adam was amazing during the whole thing...I really needed him. And that was good for me. In those moments of fear, he comforted and supported me.
So, as we hiked back down and back to the trail head we were amazed at this whole thing. And that's when Adam said "it's like taking a knife to a gun fight." That's kind of what we did when we SUMMITED Long's Peak.