Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Mountain

Years ago my girlfriend Joanie and I spent some time in the Smoky Mountains. I always wanted to brag that I’d climbed a mountain so we decided we would. I can’t even remember the name of the mountain we were on but there was a path that led to a water fall at the top called Rainbow Falls. It seemed to take all day to reach the top. I thought we were really mountain climbing but it was a hill compared to the mountains I would see eventually in my travels.

Just before I got married, Kim, my fiancé, started talking about a dream her dad had of taking the whole family on a trip to the Rocky Mountains.

By the time he realized his dream we had two kids.

We rented several cabins on a mountain that was probably over 13,000 feet. The cabins were at about 8,000 feet. This was a real mountain. My brother in law Colin and I decided we were going to climb it.

We started out one morning just before sunrise. We figured it would be a long trip so we packed a few supplies in backpacks and headed out.

We got above the tree line and it got difficult to climb. I seem to remember hitting permafrost that never thawed. It took all my energy just to lift a leg one more step. We’d take a couple of steps and rest.

I remember looking down at the cabins and then up to the peak. We weren’t even half way. When we talked about it later we both admitted we wanted to quit but neither one of us wanted to be the first to give up. I was also out of shape around this time.

When we finally reached the top the mountain actually came to a point. There was mountain goat poop at the apex. It seemed like it was a message left behind that humans were weak. Like the goat was saying, “See, I poop on the mountain!”

As we collapsed to look out over the valley I remember thinking, “I wish I packed a couple of beers in Colin’s backpack.”

The view was worth every bit of the pain but I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. I think I’m satisfied being able to say, “Been there, done that!”

Pics are: One of my favorite pictures of my dad at Pike’s Peak, Me climbing a mountain with my friend Vince (this was a trip my buddy Tracy organized at hot springs in the Rockies for my old band mates), and a camping trip Tracy and I went on in the Rockies (this was when my marriage fell apart. Tracy thought I needed the distraction. I did a lot of soul searching.)

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