This was the view from our house.
I at times wondered why I live in Illinois when such landscapes as this can be seen right outside the window.
(I'm still chewing on this one...I think it has something to do with corn...and beans...and chickens...but I'll get back to you.)
So anyway, on Thursday of last week we decided to hike Mount Elbert. Haven't heard of Mt. Elbert? That's no surprise. Neither had I! Nestled next to Twin Lakes, Mt. Elbert is what hikers call a "14-er"...it's the highest mountain in Colorado and the second highest in the lower 48 States. Who knew?? Right?! Definitely missed that in Geography class.
So a handful of us decided to hike it since we were in the neighborhood.
A bit of background on the crew- my brother-in-law, Brian, is a regular hiker of tall things. And my twin sister and her husband, Leslie and Pat, are avid runners in great physical condition.
Ryan and I...we are....
Well, put plainly, we are a devastatingly handsome farmer and his somewhat active wife.
But we were told that anyone with "basic fitness" could do the hike.
No problem. We got this.
Not being able to sleep the night before should have served as a forewarning.
My unconscious trying desperately to warn me of ominous things to come.
Not to be thwarted, we started out early, leaving the house at 5:30AM. After getting through the Aspens, both Ryan and I fell to the back of the pack and started huffing.
The conversation went about like this:
Leslie - Are you guys doing ok?
Lin - *GASP* Yep...*GASP* Totally hanging in there...*GASP*
Leslie - We can stop if you guys want a break.
Lin - *GASP* Ok...*GASP* A break might be...*GASP* a good *GASP* idea.
Are we there yet???!!? It was at this point that I seriously questioned my sanity in even starting such a venture. I was whipped, and not even in sight of the summit.
After four hours of steep uphill climbing, my legs and lungs revolting, desperate prayers for mercy, numerous liters of water, untold breaks, a near heart attack (just kidding...I think) and tender encouragement from my Sweetheart, we finally arrived at the summit.
While pretty heady stuff, I was suddenly struck by the urge to crawl. A precipice on either side, I feared falling off the side of the mountain. Not quite the pinnacle experience I expected. But Brian and Ryan had no qualms about dancing with danger...
One thing I took away from the hike - a change in perspective can change so much. When we realize our feet are planted on the biggest and most secure Rock, the other mountains and challenges don't seem so big.