Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Alpine Tundra

This morning I hiked Longs Peak, 14,255 feet. Its taken me over 4 years to hike a single 14er so I thought to myself "If I'm going to do one... I may as well go all out."

This morning I left Sunrise at the ungodly hour of 12:30 am and was on the trail at 1:30. I had a tremendous amount of energy and made it to the keyhole in great time. Coming through the boulder field in the dark was a little challenging, searching from one cairn to the next.

The whole hike was reminiscent of my time in Argentina. Hiking solo is beautiful because it gives you unwarranted time to yourself. Just you. My thoughts were all over the place, thinking about the farm, what's next, hey alpine tundra sounds like morning thunda... future adventures and wondering if this was a dangerously bad idea...

This is a shot outside Barlioche, Argentia. 4 day solo.

When I arrived at the keyhole the wind was howling and it was still pitch black. A few people trickled into the little hut but no one wanted to go for the summit yet.

After an hour of waiting for day break (on the farm I was told that the difference between day break and sunrise is day break is as soon as you can tell the difference between cilantro and parsley) I decided to go for it.

The wind gusts coming through the keyhole could be described as the feeling you get when you stick your head out of a car window. The winds were so powerful they literally took my break away. Not in that romantic first kiss kind of way, but the kind where you think you may suffocate.

I continued onto the summit, passing the trough, the narrows and the homestretch. I loved that exposed feeling, literally tip toeing on the edge with hundreds of feet of nothingness below you.

This is a shot of the homestretch. It looks much worse in this photo then it actually was.

Longs Peak Summit, around 7 am this morning

I'm not one to hike with an ipod, but I brought it along for this very moment. There on the summit I enjoyed a nice cold glass of Morning Fresh Dairy chocolate milk, a delicious sandwich with peanut butter, honey, and banana and the sweet sweet sound of music. What would you want to listen to at 14,000 feet? That question was also going through my head for 7.5 miles but the answer was easy. Wolf Parade.

The decent was so beautifully breath taking. I was a grinning idiot on cloud nine the entire way down. As I was headed back, hordes of people were on their way up. I really enjoyed making small talk with just about every single one of them and even bumping into a few friends.

Longs Peak 2010. I know we will meet again.


At August 23, 2010 at 6:13 PM , Blogger RedFreckles said...

Congrats! I haven't done a 14er yet....

At August 25, 2010 at 10:24 AM , Blogger Chri said...

Hey...sounds like an amazing morning!
Would have done everything just like you, except for the I Pod;) I usually feed jackdaws on the summits around here cause they´re smart and I like them...and to hell with biologists telling me off, an occasional raisin won´t harm them;)


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