Saturday, July 28, 2012

Glacier National Park Day 2


Waking early the second day I set my mind to issues of immediate importance. Breakfast and hot coffee. Camping is just about the only situation that demands I consume coffee to function as a human being. It's a spirit lifter in those early hours after waking from a less then comfortable sleep in a tent.

Charged by my morning meal my task of the day took the forefront. Rearranging my hiking schedule I decided that this day should be dedicated to climbing Mount Brown. Climbing a mountain, thats not something we all do every day, unless there is an odd mountaineer reading this, in which case, kudos friend.

In a strict sense I wasn't exactly "climbing" a mountain as it is seen traditionally. I would be hiking a trail up the shallowest approach, but don't read that as being easy. This is still a 4,500 ft ascent over 5 miles. The grade varies but is always climbing, which puts enormous stress on the body over the length of the hike. Whats more, afterward a 4,500 ft descent awaits.

There's an emotional response to conquering a summit that has always intrigued me. That burst of joy and relief that overcomes oneself upon taking those last few weary steps to the peak, almost impossible to describe to one who has not experienced it themselves, almost saddening to think there are those that don't know it.

As silly as the whole ordeal feels in the moment of worst fatigue and stress during the ascent, I'll still keep climbing mountains. They present themselves along with the clouds in those lofty reaches which keep my eyes transfixed. A challenge to my soul, a path to the great reaches that I can embark upon with my own two legs.

As John Muir famously said, "The mountains are calling, I must go."

Aqua Saxa

Edwards Mountain

Mount Brown Summit

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