Monday, July 07, 2008

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams Seeking grace in every step he takes

A trip to Mt Elbert, for me, Man vs Mountain, Mountain wins Round 1. Getting all excuses out of the way first, leaking water pack, a 4am flight, 250 feet above sea level to 12,000 feet above sea level in the course of 6 hours, nothing to eat, hot as hell, mosquitoes, all weak excuses. The only thing I had going for me was 1 1/2 pounds of pizza hut pasta the night before, which was just as much as a curse.

Enclaves going up the mountain, spectacular. When we were heading down, we looked back up at the mountain full of trees and tried to identify where we were, it is so vast we couldn't even see. When you are driving and looking up at mountains, you don't realize how massive they are, and how long it would take to scale to the top.

The trees, Aspen trees to be exact, looked amazing. Mike D has a stick with him to help walking, which dubbed him the name 'Gandolf Dula' on the trip up. Also the stick was to ward off attackers in the form of mountain cougars or bears.

At some points in the trail we had water blocks, in which I would clumsily work my way over, something that wasn't fun, many times I didn't look eloquent, a fish out of water, that's for sure. However, I just thought about Coors light beer, and tappin' the rockies and moved on. I even filled my water jug from the stream, which was cold water, runoff from the snow.

One of my finer moments. Over about 11,000 feet, I felt as if my heart was going to explode every 50 yards, therefore I had to stop often. Notice the matching shirt / backpack, courtesy of the lowest price at your respective discounters. I felt every cheeseburger I've eaten in the last 10 years on the climb up, and I'm certain its time for a change in my life when it comes to the gut and huge portions.

The aspen trees with weird carvings, I think due to insects. At this level, the insects were CRAZY. The trail smelled great, there were some vivid colors, some interesting vegetation, the temperature fluctuated.

The treeline, approximately 12,000 feet is all I could muster. Trees don't grow above this level, a different world up there. At this point it was about 3.30. I'm certain I could have inched my way up if we were to have left at 8 am or sooner, but leaving at closer to 12.30, and yet another excuse, thunderclouds hovering over the treeline, logic prevailed over the mind over matter attitude.

What was left, doesn't look far, but I kinda zoomed in, we were a good 2,500 vertical feet to go, and about a 2-3 mile trek yet.

One the way down, 'breaks' were key. My 89.99 reebox which I didn't skimp on during the trip turned out to be a great investment. at times on inclines my feet were throbbing and my toes crammed into the front of my shoe.

You would have thought I would learn, but that evening, we went to the golden burro in leadville, great atmosphere, decent food. What was left of my wonderful meal. The lounge / grill has carpet, really cool :)

Our lovely Super 8 in Longmont was a sight for sore eyes, and the sunset overlooking the Rockies along with the storm was amazing. Like John Denver says, he's seen it raining fire in the sky.

Last but not least, the Waffle House, where I ate more than one meal over the time there, one of the most picturesque scenes for a Waffle House I've ever seen, and I've had lots of history with the place.

Tomorrow, postings of Mike and Laura P's wedding, congrats to them as they are on their epic 14 city cruise tour of Europe.


Jamie C said...

RB - That is so awesome! I'm so proud of you!!!!!!

SG said...

Awesome post, good photos.

Sounds like a blast..

I think next time I go to Colorado me and Grant are going to take on that mountain. Probably not get as far as you, but we will try.