18 August 2007
We got up at 1:30 a.m. Owie! We arrived at the Three Elk Creek trailhead at about 4, and while The Lizard got ready, he noticed a light he first thought might be a ranch, but then he saw it was moving. He asked me to look at it.
My first reaction was a chill down my spine, and then, "Get the heck out of here!" But then I felt nothing.
The light continued moving toward us, but not in a straight line. It was almost as if the person wearing the headlamp was drunk.
The Lizard didn't feel comfortable leaving our car at the deserted Mount Harvard trailhead that never gets used while someone was wandering drunk. I didn't feel anything. I prayed about it, and I still didn't feel anything.
The Lizard started the car and left the parking lot for a minute or two. When we returned, the hiker/strange person stared at us. Or, the light stayed motionless and stayed seemingly focused on us. The person was acting so strangely. So The Lizard thought maybe we should leave until daylight, which would reduce our chance of being able to summit. When we got back out to the forest road, we saw another headlight abandoning the trailhead as well.
I suggested we go to the Mount Yale trailhead instead. It's a shorter hike, with lots of people, and in our current state of mind, much safer.
I was pretty strong for the first couple of miles up Yale, but then I started fading fast. I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit. I'd given up sugar cold turkey a year earlier, and I'd yet to find a happy balance trying to fuel for big adventures. I'd completed more failures than summits, as far as reaching the top, but every hike was successful in the photography department... until I ran out of gas and could not take in enough calories (or protein) to power my body again.
I told The Lizard not to let me quit this time.
I kept telling myself Yale wasn't harder than Redcloud, and I got up that one. I kept telling myself I could do it.
When we got within a mile of Yale's summit, I kept telling myself the top was closer than the top of the stairwell at work. When we got up on the final ridge, I told myself we were closer than the 14-floor stairwell in the garage at work.
And I made it!
Two years ago, eight months after emergency back surgery, I climbed one 14er. Last year I climbed two 14ers. This year I've climbed four.
This is how I started out. One the first year, one the second year, two the third year, four the fourth year, and ten the fifth year. Now I'm starting all over, but I'm doing well. I'm getting stronger. I'm getting more resilient.
Almond butter agave syrup sandwiches on homemade whole wheat bread were a magic potion when I ran out of energy. Worked better than any power bar or energy drink I can buy.
We stopped at City Market on the way home to get deli sandwiches. Messy, but oh, so good. The Lizard devoured a cold cut combo, and I dribbled juice from my veggie sandwich all over my shirt. I smell like avocado now. But I went as far as I could go at yet another major league university!