Sunday, September 19, 2010
Alpine moments, magical thinking
But we were ten, twenty, thirty years younger. Today we still treasure the pristine landscapes, the clear air, the chance to see wildlife, the quiet, the solitude, the physical challenge, but we take it at a slower pace. We take three hours to descend 300 feet from the Visitor Center and then climb up this 2 ½ mile trail, gaining 1100 feet in elevation from the valley bottom to the saddle. We stopped frequently, peering up the mountain to see if we were there yet, chatting with hikers passing us on their way down, filling our filtered water bottle with cool stream water, peeling off layers of clothes and assessing the state of our feet, knees, thigh muscles. We listen to the eagle’s high pitched cry as it flies around the valley. We see some tiny figures coming back down on the trail above us. The top of the mountain looks close until we get closer, when it keeps receding, just beyond this one switchback, across one more boulder field, one more unexpected uphill stretch, getting steeper as we approach the top.