Recently my boyfriend, Joe, and I took a road trip to Colorado. It was a wonderful time hiking in the mountains and certainly a getaway that I desperately needed. While planning the trip Joe said he wanted to do a 14ker. I said OK!!!! What’s a 14ker??? I’m sure many of you know, but for those who don’t, a 14ker is hiking up a mountain where the summit is 14,000 feet elevation or higher.
I consider myself to be in decent shape, and I have a decent amount of strength. What I don’t have is speed. Like for real, when Joe and I play tag with the kids he runs backwards and taunts me, and I still can’t catch him. But hey, it’s slow and steady wins the race, right!
So our plan was to climb Grey’s Peak. I began reading about the hike and what I was in for. What I found out is that Grey’s Peak can be a two for one! It has a neighboring peak called Torrey’s and with only adding on about half a mile or so you can say you did two 14kers!!! I mean what’s half a mile… at 14K feet, with a step grade… I was up for the challenge of both.
I was prepared, I read blogs about what I was in for. I got a new hiking backpack. I had lots of water and warm layers, and I even brought canned oxygen. Yep! Canned oxygen is a thing. I figured being a low lander, it was a good idea since I’m not use to the thin air.
Starting out I was not a happy camper. I had to wake up at 3:30 AM, drive to the road that takes you up to the start of the trail. The trail head road is stupid!!! It’s so bumpy it’s not even funny, it took about 40 min to drive the few miles up, and all the while I had to go to the bathroom. So here we are, it’s dark, it’s cold and we have a mountain to climb.
So I put on all my warm layers, got hand warmers in my gloves, put on my head lamp, and off we go. The stars we absolutely beautiful, except I didn’t get to enjoy them much as it was dark, and I was hiking, with a head lamp, and trying not to die or fall down. Joe’s headlamp was quite a bit brighter than mine, he was walking ahead of me and kept turning around to see where I was. At one point I yelled at him “Stop fucking looking at me!!! Your stupid head lamp is blinding me!!!!” Then I proceeded to stop and take a hit of the canned oxygen I brought.... this was like 20 min into our hike. Apparently, this is when Joe thought to himself that we are never making it up this mountain. What he failed to realize is that I had already decided that I would. So on we went...
It was slow, painfully slow, as we got closer to the summit. My energy was low, it was harder to breathe, and all I could do was put one foot slightly in front of the other, slowly. I kept saying to myself over and over again, “I can breathe. I am strong. I am capable. I can do hard things. “
I would love to tell you that as I approached the summit, I got the burst of energy and ran up, and took in the glory of my accomplishment, but that’s certainly not what happened. I got to the top at my slow pace and saw a rock and plopped my ass down on it and sat. I sat there without getting up for a good 20 min. I drank water, ate some, and rested. And then I got up, then finally I took in the beautiful views, and that amazing feeling of accomplishment. I regrouped and enjoyed the top of the mountain for some time, and then it was off to the second summit. Hitting the final approach and summit at Torrey’s Peak was still slow, but not nearly as difficult.
I believe that’s how life is. If you wish to climb mountains you’re in for a long haul. Pray for good weather and keep moving forward, you will eventually get there, as long as you never give up.
The decent, and walk down was not bad, but certainly long. All in all, it took me 10 1/2 hours from start to finish. But you know what? It doesn’t matter if I had the longest time, I still accomplished the same feat. Once again, something that I believe is also true in life. It’s a journey, not a race against others.
I have a feeling the next time (yes, there will be a next time) it will be slightly less hard.
I can do hard things, and so can you. You simply have to put your mind to it and keep going.
Sending you guys so much love, thank you for supporting my work. You can see all of my handmade pottery here.
Ceramic Artist and Owner of Off Your Rocker Pottery