3 September 2007
The alarm went off at 1:30 a.m. Ouch. We were out the door at 2 a.m. on the nose. I slept in the car all the way until the four-wheel-drive road at the trailhead forced The Lizard to use four-wheel-drive.
Even now, 18 hours later, I am still so tired!
But I have so much to write! Both about today's hike and some personal things that have nothing to do with 14ers. Will I get it all down before my eyelids heed the call? Or will I forget some of the stuff before I get it down?
We climbed Mount Columbia! I wanted to do Harvard, too, but the weather wouldn't allow it. But this brings into play one of the most awesome things that happened today. And there were many!
The Lizard was worried about the storm building over Yale when we were about half an hour from the summit of Columbia. I had run out of steam. I was going way too slow. The Lizard wanted to turn back. I still was clinging to the hope the clouds would burn off so we could descend via Harvard. I didn't want to go back down Columbia's tedious south slopes!
I looked up at the clouds, and although they were indeed building, they weren't building fast, and they weren't really the right kind of clouds to generate lightning. I told The Lizard I thought we’d be okay. He accused me of summit fever. :) I told him, "Darn tootin' right!" Only I had double summit fever. I wanted Harvard, too... Two degrees in one hike. That's pretty big for me!
I told The Lizard to go ahead of me, not wait anymore, and to go ahead and sign the summit register. He said if I was turning back, he was turning back, too. I told him I intended to keep going up until I met him on his way back down. I was going to try with all my might to make that summit.
He didn't want to leave me alone on that terrain feeling the way I did. I had been trying to hurry, so I didn't eat properly. He went ahead a little, but he still kept waiting for me.
Suddenly I realized I was being selfish. I did want the summit. I'd come this far. Plus, all day I'd been trying to show him I am ready for Mount Sneffels and Mount of the Holy Cross. (Another cool thing today... When I told him that later, he said I don't have to prove anything to him. He said I am ready for Sneffels and that he can see how much I've improved.) I thought about Stano and Martina. I didn't want anything to happen to The Lizard because of my selfishness. I prayed we would make it safely back to the car and that I wouldn't endanger us.
The winds changed direction, and the storm brewing over Yale began moving toward Princeton.
We reached the summit. There was no register. (Figures!) We took all of about five pictures, then quickly began making our way back down. We didn't want to tempt fate, even though the weather seemed to be in our favor. As we began the most tedious part of the trail again, The Lizard told me he had prayed we would make it down safely because we were traveling the naked, exposed ridge nearly the whole route. A natural lightning field.
My second special note in this grand adventure is that we must have started a new tradition. Last year, The Lizard lost his wedding ring while we were camping, and we were blessed to find it. (After prayer, I might add!) Today on the summit of Columbia, The Lizard realized his ring was missing again. He couldn't remember taking it off, so he hoped it was still at home.
When we got back to the car several hours later, someone had placed The Lizard's ring on the hood of our car.
I can't believe the finders didn't keep the ring. I can't believe they knew which car it might belong to. And I can't believe this has happened yet again.
I guess actually, we had a double blessing today instead of a double summit.
Another really cool thing today was when The Lizard told me he likes the shirt he bought me. Today was my first time wearing it. He said he likes what's inside the shirt better than the shirt, though. I told him he made my toes tingle!
He also confided that when he first met my adopted daughter, he wasn't sure what he was getting himself into. When he told me this, I realized how blessed I was that The Lizard stuck it out. He could have abandoned ship, just like everyone else. But he hung in there. He said he knew from the beginning how hurt I'd been. He knew how much my kids had hurt me. So he stuck with me, even though my daughter scared him as much as she scared me.
There, I think I got it all. And now I'm going to bed. Forever! Not really. But boy, am I tired!