I would like to tell you we summited Mt. Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado. However unexpected weather prevented it from happening. Mac checked the weather before we began our ascent at 5:00 a.m. It was supposed to be just partly cloudy. It started raining on us after the first hour.
I started out full of joy thinking of all God’s creation we were going to see! People had told us ahead of time how wide the path was for Mt. Elbert, just a very long hike. 4 hours into the hike, my legs and shoulders started aching. At one point my left knee buckled for a moment. I looked ahead and realized we still had at least another hour to go using all the strength I had. I kept saying to myself, “One more step. Just one more step.” I slipped and bruised my arm coming down hard on a rock. That hurt my feelings and I had to fight back tears.
I remembered our daughter, Cherry, telling me a story about Rex, our youngest grandchild when he could barely talk. He loved chocolate. He found a bag of chocolate and ate several. Cherry took the bag away. Rex kept begging, “One more cocklett (chocolate). Just one more cocklett.” I laughed recalling that story. So I started telling myself, “Just one more cocklett” instead of “one more step.” Laughing about Rex helped give me more energy to keep going.
It was fun conversing with hikers along the way. One college student told us he was a soccer player and thought he could do this with no problem. He ended up turning around after the first 2 hours. He arrived in Denver just 36 hours before. Nope, his lungs were not acclimated for Mt. Elbert. Another guy was from Pennsylvania. His athletic shoes had no tread on them and he was walking out of the sides of them with no ankle support. He trudged on ahead of us. We never saw him again. I hope he made it back down safely. Another young couple turned around before us saying how bad it was ahead. They said they weren’t prepared for this.
As we continued to climb to the top of the steep “false summit” the rain turned to snow and a cloud set on top of us which brought zero visibility and the rocks turned slick. We couldn’t see the trail anymore. We talked about it for a minute and decided it would be wise for our safety to head back down. We took a picture in the clouds before we turned around.
We were disappointed thinking how close were were to summit Mt. Elbert. As we descended a surgeon from Denver asked how bad it was up top. By this time the sun was peeking out of the clouds. We told him our experience but it could be better now. So he went for it. His wife was at the bottom of the steep part with their lab. The lab was whining because she wanted to go with her master. But he said no. He went alone while they waited.
Mac and I told each other that day was a win for us because we were on an adventure together. Afterwards we sat in a coffee house in Leadville being thankful we were warm and safe while eating homemade carrot cake and pecan pumpkin bread.
Last image is on Mac’s iPhone. I looked at mine later. I walked 12.2 miles and 29,511 steps. Mac takes big steps while I take little steps. :)