Rocky Mountain High: Day 3 – The Ascent

Well that idea of writing these blogs pretty close together was a bit of a failure. I server the first two up pretty well, but then things got busy. Here we are though, as it’s now just after 6am and I had to wrap up a fun 2-hour activation call with work. I plan on watching some soccer here in about 15 minutes, but I thought I would try writing this blog before then.

So previously on “Rocky Mountain High” we did an escape room, ate some food and then scoped out the mountain we planned to climb. I don’t think Jon Snow has bent the knee yet though so you’re not too far behind.

So the morning of our hike started extremely early. We initially planned on getting started around 2am, but after scouting our hike, we decided a little bit later start was sufficient.

I had my alarm set for 2:45am, and though I’m not sure I even slept, I found myself checking the time on my phone at 2:44am. I got right on up, not too tired or dazed ready to take on Mount Democrat. At the same time, Tippin came up the stairs of the AirBnB to greet me. The other guys began to follow, and it was a funny drive up to the mountain. I can only compare it to the likes of us all preparing to go do a major robbery. In the movies when the guys are traveling to their destination it’s pure silence. That’s what our drive was like. It was dark, a little rainy and nobody was talking. I’m attribute this more to it being just after 3am and not the fact that we were about to climb a 14er.

We arrived at the base of the mountain preparing ourselves with headlamps and flashlights. The key component to this hike was how ill-prepared I was in terms of clothes. I forgot a jack and even a long sleeve shirt. Though I made it without turning in to an abominable snowman, I know the next time I ever go hiking I will dress far more appropriately. The poncho that Kevin gave me was the saving grace from my arms not completely freezing off.

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We began our trek up the mountain in complete darkness. We only had a faintly defined path as we got in to the rocks to follow, and there were a handful of times where we had to stop and assure ourselves we were still on the right path. Ollie was our guide and had the tools to make sure we did not go walking off any cliffs or climb in to any bear caves.

I immediately felt the altitude kick in and a hike up a half a mile felt like I had been running for 2. My lungs were feeling it as were my calves. I was surprised at how much effort you feel you put in for not going at a very fast pace.

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The sun just started to come up as we got about halfway up the mountain. It was a foggy haze that would roll in and out over the mountain. It would sometimes make for amazing views and sometimes all you could see are giant white clouds in front of you. It was something I had never in my life seen or even thought I would see.

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We finally made it to the top of the mountain around around 7:30am. It was a bit of a quiet celebration for us because we were all just trying to gather ourselves from the hike up. It was a bit of an odd feeling, kind of like you did something huge and then the thought of, well now back down we go.

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We spent a little bit of time just taking in the sites and when the clouds cleared we could see down to where we had started. I was at this point a bit chilly, and luckily one of the guys let me throw some gloves on to wear on the descent back down.

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The hike down was far easier and involved much more casual conversation; something we could not do much of going up because of the energy it exalted. I also got to take in the views that I had no idea were around me when we were doing up because of the darkness.

The trail at this point was much more lively and people were making their way up. I was glad we had started early because we were pretty much secluded from anybody else. We passed may a small group here or there towards the top, but the initial hike was just us guys.

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It was one of the most physically taxing things I’ve done, but I attribute some of it to my poor choice of clothing. I think if I did it again, and I had the rite attire, that it would not have been too terrible, but even with that said, it was no easy task.

The fact that I can say I climbed a mountain is pretty cool, and something you can mark off any type of bucket list. We got back to the car around 9:30am. We all wanted to get back to the AirBnB so we could change and then go get some breakfast. Despite our immediate desire for sleep, our second wind kind of took over and we all got some coffee and breakfast at a local diner.

After that, we checked out some of the Colorado exclusive shops and went back to the AirBnB. Some of us stayed up for a bit before deciding to try and crash to get some sleep. I tried, but found myself unable to sleep.

Once we all kind of got up and started to take the 2nd part of the day in, we played a few board games. One of the oddest feelings was hanging out playing a game and feeling like we had done an entire days worth of activities and it was only like 10:45 or 11am.

Towards the afternoon I think I got a bit of the altitude sickness that they say can happen, or maybe it was the lack of sleep, but my head was bugging me. While the guys played a few more games I just lounged on the couch. We decided to have one final meal out at a brewery in Breckenridge, CO.

It was a nice little wrap up to the day, and I was more than ready to go to bed when we got home. We had an early morning ahead of us because we had a decent drive to get back in to Denver before hitting the airport.

It was nothing short of an amazing day, and a completely unreal experience to climb a mountain. I’m hoping it’s not the last one I ever climb, but I don’t know if I’m ready for Everest yet. I’ll wait a year or two. Sleep hit quickly and the next day brought the trip back home to St. Louis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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