Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A long endless drive, through the flat plains of Western Minnesota, North Dakota and Eastern Montana, finally came to an end as the majestic Rocky Mountains came into view. We were greeted with bright sunshine and crisp mountain air. It was my first time in the mountains. I was excited. I was awed. There they stood in front of me lofty and imposing, timeless and serene.
This was a hiking and camping trip. So everyday we climbed some mountain or hiked some trail. A trail up a mountain can be inspiring, it can be daunting. I have a new found respect for mountaineers. You are at the base of a mountain and think to yourself, ‘well, this is a couple of miles, should be done in a jiffy’ and then two hours later your are still climbing. Your brow is soaked in sweat, your nose is bleeding due to the high altitude. Every sinew is stretched, every muscle is exerted. If hiking is not tiring enough, try backpacking when you have 40 pounds of gear weighing you down. Backpacking requires a badass attitude. And a body in great physical shape. Luckily I am blessed with both.
Nature is so beautiful. The sound of wind and water. The sound of silence. The sight of lofty mountains. The sight of tranquil blue lakes. The smell of wild flowers. This was nature’s own canvass. Painted to perfection. You had to catch your breath before it was taken away by the breath taking views or the thin high altitude air. To quote John Muir, “in every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” I realized we are caretakers of a truly beautiful world. We can never own something so magnificent. It is our job to preserve it for posterity.
And then there is the ever cool camping experience. Sleeping in tents, cooking outdoors, campfire and s’mores. And on this camping trip I had no cell phone service or Internet access for a week! It was a get away in a true sense.
I thank God for giving me an opportunity to see some more of his amazing creation. Thanks also to the Center for Outdoor Adventure at UMN for organizing the trip and to all my friends on the trip for making this trip so much fun.
A brief description of our hikes.
Day 1: Garden Wall (4 miles). It was a warm-up hike, to get our feet going.
Day 2: Sunrift Gorge - Siyeh Pass - Siyeh Bend (10.3 miles). Elevation at start point - 4640 ft. Elevation at top - 8240 ft. Elevation at end point - 5840 ft.
Day 3: Grinell Glacier (11miles). Elevation at start and end point - 4860 ft. Elevation at top - 6560 ft.
The first 3 days were day hikes and we camped at Rising Sun campground.
Day 4: Packers Roost - Flat Top Mountain campsite (5.7 miles). This was with the 40 lb. of gear. We has an elevation gain of 2640 ft. over 3 miles.
Day 5: Flat Top Mountain campsite - Sue Lake - Flat Top Mountain campsite (13.9 miles). Maximum elevation 7600 ft.
Day6: Flat top Mountain campsite - Packers Roost (5.7 miles). This again was with all the gear.