We’ve been pretty behind on the “Where we are and what we’re up to” posts, but in an effort to change that, here’s something that happened today. Over the past 24 hours, we…
- Parked at the Mount Elbert trailhead near Leadville, CO last night. (Yes, we’re in Colorado. Surprise!)
- Woke up at 1:30 AM to begin our summit bid
- Hiked through the night, catching a gorgeous sunrise from 13,000′
- Summitted Elbert, making us momentarily the highest things in Colorado and the second-highest things in the continental United States: 14,433′
From the top, Ay and I watched other climbers make their way up the mountain, including some not-so-clever folks who were starting their hike around 11:00 AM. (Rain and thunderstorms move in every afternoon like clockwork. You don’t want to be standing atop the second-highest peak in the United States during a thunderstorm.)
It was our first time really hiking through the night, and what a blessing it was. Because we couldn’t see anything beyond what our headlamps could illuminate, we weren’t intimidated by the HUGE peak in front of us. The hike was immensely rewarding, as it was by far Ayo’s longest and highest hike and was our first 14-er. Ayo pushed herself so hard, surprising herself with her willpower, commanding her legs to move and a few times literally crawling up the mountain.
We were the first people on Elbert that day, and a number of people later told us that they saw our headlamps from the bottom and wondered who was making it up the peak for sunrise. As day broke we were rewarded with views of snow-capped peaks and countless lakes below us, with wildflowers and wildlife surrounding us.
Our descent was magical in that we were hiking through what seemed like new terrain, seeing the beauty that we had headlamped our way through. Photos and views from the bottom can’t describe what it’s like to feel alive, high up in the clouds, and Elbert felt like a great and intense introduction to Colorado.
After our descent we crashed big-time, and later rewarded ourselves with a spectacular dinner at Quincy’s, a gem of a restaurant in Leadville.
Ayo learned today what her body can really do, finding her limits and pushing them. I was happy to have her as a partner in this climb, and loved seeing her perseverance and strength.
posted by yair