What is the lure for climbing to the top of mountains?
Today’s hike is ONLY four miles. It begins at an elevation of 8,000 feet and climbs 2,000 feet in two miles. We are near the east entrance to Yellowstone, and across the street is a sign marked Avalanche Peak.
The Gatorade is topped off in the Camelbak™️, the granola bars line the pockets, and we swallow a peanut butter and jelly sandwich prior to the ascent. Today will be a test.
We started at the alpine layer. The trail teased us with a creek traveling down the hillside and shared a wildflower meadow. It is the gateway to what lies ahead.
The tree cover ends at a mile and opens nature’s door to the summit. The temperature drops, and the wind picks up, promising snow flurries, but the next stop was the ridge. Strides become scuffles and more of a lean in the right direction, but we keep moving forward.
We were living a Gatorade commercial.
The rocky hillside, known as a scree, is common near mountain summits, and there is another benefit to them. Prior to hibernation, the mountain slopes will lure grizzly bears in the search of high-calorie army cutworm moths that live in this climate. The moths are an essential part of the grizzly diet and they can eat 40,000 in a day.
Yes, I said 40,000!
To crest the summit is the challenge we were prepared for, and yet, we are still humbled by its namesake. One step up, is answered with a few slides back, but we can see the top, so we keep moving forward.
My immediate reaction at the top was:
THIS really IS the top. This is what 10,566 feet looks like.
We are small and insignificant at this place, and at the same time there is a sense of divine omniscience to be on top of what feels like… the world. There is nothing but clouds and sky above us. An unobstructed 360 degree view warrants the need to keep turning in circles, and caution speaks loudly with the reminder that we are REALLY on a ridge.
A short walk treated us to a fort of sorts made from rocks. I wondered if it was a gift from previous hikers. Storms are unforgiving up here and the rocks would be the only protection from the elements.
So…what is the lure to climbing to the top of mountains?
Some might say a sense of accomplishment, to check another box, or because I can. Nature has a way of drawing all of us for different reasons.
For me….the lure is the power of being present in this moment.
Stay patient. The valley views and downhills wait.
Just. Keep. Moving Forward.
Grateful for today pvcann who shares his priceless wisdom about nature…for me.
The Daily Post: Elevate