Thursday, July 22, 2004

It was a Long Long's Journey

Well, I'm back. Back to the blogging and back from Longs Peak. I left Caleb's house last night at 3am, drove home, ate a few microwaveable burritos, and headed straight for Long's Peak. I reached the trailhead at 5:30 and started to hike. It was a very cold any windy morning and I was could already feel the lack of sleep kicking in. The first mile hurt, but the second and third carried me towards exhaustion. My legs were still torn up from the run to Ft. Collins. By the time I had completed my 3rd mile I wasn't sure if I would be able to get back to my car let alone the Boulder Field or the Summit. All I could do was keep moving, so, in almost zombie like fashion, I made my way forward. My mind was unusually clear. This level of exhaustion had taken me to a place somewhat similar to meditation. This "meditation," though, was different than any other I had experienced previously. I had reached high levels of awareness through activity before, but that was through excellence in the activity. A good race or a hard practice. This place had been reached through tiredness and pain. Steadily, I moved forward. About 3 hours later (I had made it in 2 last year) I reached the Boulder Field. Almost instinctively, I found a small camping area and fell sleep on my backpack. I was cold and there was a lot of wind, but I slept very deeply. Nearly 2 hours later I awoke. The pain and exhaustion had left, but the my mind was still clear. I was still "meditating." Looking towards the keyhole I decided to continue my ascent since 2 hours of sleep seemed like enough =). The sun came out and the wind stopped as I easily crossed the Boulder Field and and stepped through the keyhole. Until this point I had felt comfortable. The skys were blue and the day was beautiful.but as I reached the backside of the mountain, everything changed. Clouds could be seen coming toward the mountain, the wind had started again, and the sun could no longer be seen. It was as though a line had been drawn and on either side stood the opposing faces of nature. One was nurturing and the other deadly. Masculine and Feminine. The experience was shocking. I moved along the back side and experienced the power of nature. The clouds which were once in the distance were now too close for comfort, moving at incredible speeds. The wind which once blew gently now struck viscously. Perhaps the most surprising trait, though, was the ice. This ice was not only remarkably cold but exceptionally slippery. The wind had polished it into almost frightening pockets of danger. I kept pushing forward until the clouds stood almost directly above me. Storms almost religiously blow in at 11 and since I had wasted my best climbing window sleeping I was forced to turn back. As I made my decent the exhaustion began to show up again. Two hours of sleep undoubtably wasn't enough. Eventually I reached my car and made the trip home. I ate and almost immediatley fell asleep. I'm happy to be back.

--------Side note ---------
Between the run to Ft. Collins and the trip up Long's peak, I've traveled close to 25 hard miles in the last 3 days. What the hell is wrong with me?!


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