67 dollars. The tent we bought to shelter us, to ward off the notorious pelting rain of the northwest. To protect us from the brutal winds of alpine Colorado up 8,000 feet. 67 dollars it cost us, and would it be enough? In all likelihood, no…but what is new?
I have splurged on this trip. I splurged by buying $90 Merrell hiking shoes. I went over the precipice and bought a North Face trekking t-shirt for an explosive price of 35 greybacks.
The reason why I splurged? The Mountains beckoned. They are steep, relentless, and challenging. They look down on me with an authoritative jutted chin. They laugh at my mere mortal attempt to summit their mighty peaks, instead of being let down…I feel indignation, a surge of determination on a scale of Zeus’ thunderbolts zip up and down inside me.
As you can see right now, my passion for this trip is mainly oriented on the hiking/climbing aspect. It’s funny really, on how I first was introduced to the intricate art of mountaineering. We (Bobby, Scott, Fava and I) were at Europe, roaming the countryside of Slovenia and came across to probably the most breathtaking lake in world in Lake Bled. Looming over the picturesque lake was the monolith giant- Mt. Triglav. It rises and rises until it dominates the landscape with a sheer pugnacity that simply screams, “Climb me, I dare you.” Being all the nineteen year old that I was, I responded to the challenge and dragged my companions to join in the fray.
Taking in the glorious scenery of Julian Alps.
Nearing to the top…so close yet so far away
8 hours later with aching legs, we crashed the base camp. Our thoughts were littered with the magnificent views, throbbing legs, and a sense of achievement (and then the aching legs).Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the infatuation with mountains kick started inside me. There was something primordial, primeval about climbing a mountain, where epic battles of man vs. nature- mental vs. physical take place, and the sheer elation one feels when he’s on the top. Many reasons vary from person to person regarding why they feel the urge, the irresistible tug to scale peaks…however my favorite reasoning goes like this….
Sir Edmund Hilary was preparing to become the first person ever to summit the unsumittable, Mt. Everest. Before he left for his journey, he was accosted by reporters. One reporter asked him, “Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest? What drives you? What is the motive?”
Hilary replied, “Because it’s there.”
This trip is going to be loads of fun. Unquestionably, there will be challenges and unexpected situations that serve to impede our trip. They need to be ruthlessly trampled down, if they cannot be trampled then, by gods, we will climb over it!
Mountains that we have in mind to conquer;
Old Rag; Shenandoah National Park, VA—Elevation: 3,291 ft.
Hawksbill; Shenandoah National Park, VA—Elevation: 4,050 ft.
Charles Bunion; Great Smoky Mountains NP, TN—Elevation: 5,565 ft.
Mount Le Conte; Great Smoky Mountains NP, TN—Elevation: 6,621 ft. (time permitting)
Longs Peak; Colorado—Elevation: 14,259 ft.
Storm King Peak; Colorado—Elevation: 13,752 ft.
Chicago Basin 14er Circuit (Windon Peak, Sunlight Peak, Mount Eolus) Elevation: 14,060 ft.
Mount Elbert; Colorado—Elevation: 14,433 ft.
Mount Whitney; California—Elevation: 14,505 ft.
Mount Shasta; California—Elevation: 14,179 ft.
Half Dome; Yosemite, California—Elevation: 8,840 ft.
Grand Teton; Wyoming—Elevation: 13,775 ft.
Gannet Peak; Wyoming—Elevation: 13,809 ft.
Kings Peak; Utah—Elevation: 13,528 ft.
Last but the not the least…
Mount Rainer; Washington—Elevation: 14,411 ft.
In no way whatsoever a promise was made to you from us that we would scale them all. 🙂