from such great heights

13.8 thousand above sea-level

Posted in life by chapwoman on July 9, 2008

today was one of the best days of my life.

because I hiked a mountain.  not one of those dinky 9000-foot hills, but Longs Peak, the tallest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park at 14.3 thousand feet.

my hiking group left at 3 this morning in order to reach the summit by noon, so that was intense in itself.  And I have to say, I was amped in the wee hours of this morning because 1) it would be my first time hiking an actual mountain, 2) it would be my first sunrise hike, and 3) it would be our end-all-be-all endeavor as an entire summer project.

initially I started with the “fast-paced” group, but an hour into the vertical ascent, I was winded.  At 3 mph I was hiking with mostly guys and fit girls so I didn’t have time to snack, drink water, or talk…only gasp for air.  So when we caught up to the “middle-paced” group, my friend Katie & I decided to join them.  For talking’s sake.  And eating’s sake.  Haha.

we reached the tundra-covered tree line at about 4:45 and had the luxury of watching a magnificent sunrise from 11,000 feet.  the sun looked how it does in the Lion King: a vibrant and blurry pink moving freakishly fast above the clouds and peaks in the distance. though my fingertips and nose were almost numb from the cold at the altitude, I wouldn’t have changed my discomfort for that sunrise.  God was practically blowing me a kiss with  the sight.

we continued for another couple hours of straight up-hill climbing–my quads and calves were burning from climbing up and up the endless path of granite.  It felt as if I were climbing a StairMaster for 3 solid miles, so  imagine what my butt and legs feel like now.  After struggling with that uphill climb, we reached an expansive valley of boulders or as I refer to it: “Valley of Doom.”  Seriously, there was not a sight of green to be seen.  The valley wasn’t even generous enough to let a weed break through a rocky crack.  We had to trek through that desert-like valley of boulders in order to reach “the keyhole,” a crest in the mountain which acts as a doorway to the backside of the mountain and path leading to the summit.

On my hands and knees, I climbed up those boulders and would not give into the pain of my quads, of my granite-scraped fingertips, of my aching back carrying 20 lbs of food, water, and clothing.  The struggle was well-worth it though: when I pulled myself over the top of the last boulder in the keyhole, a panoramic view of the entire Rocky Mountain Range in front of clear blue skies lay before my eyes.  I’ve never felt so intimate with nature in my life, seeing God’s perfect and majestic creation in the open atmosphere and right in front of me like that.  It was so gorgeous that I completely forgot about my physical aches and pains and pressed onward toward the summit with my friends Abby and Jessica along with two staff.

Unfortunately, fear of slipping down shear cliffs to my death and anxiety of thunderstorms forming overhead caused us to change our summit plans.  We ended up parking it at 13,800 feet at 9:30 in a notch which allowed us to see both the Rockies and Valley of Doom on either side of us.

While we were reveling in the beauty around us and snacking on our trail mix, I realized how thankful I am to be here on summer project.  I am thankful to have had the outdoor experience with 35 other believers in the most beautiful region of Colorado.  I am thankful to have struggled with Team Legit, to have cried with my ten girls about our scars, to have spent time alone with my God in the wilderness.  It is because of Him that I am even here in the first place–everything I’ve experienced and learned belongs to Him.

Though the five of us didn’t actually summit Longs Peak, we did our best and I am beyond stoked that we even attempted it.  It was definitely a great way to end the outdoorsy-side of summer project because everyone reached the keyhole and 12 people ended up reaching the summit.  God is so amazing as a source of protection and a source of encouragement as we pushed our limits for 12 long miles today.

I’m gonna climb more mountains in this lifetime so I can experience Him like I experienced Him gloriously today.

C’est la vie,
Chappie

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One Response

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  1. Jadvaddips said, on August 3, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Tahnks for posting


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