Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My First 13er

Many of you may already know that I’m a native Coloradoan.  I love living in this state and taking advantage of what it has to offer, can’t imagine living anywhere else.  One of the “things” that Colorado is known for is its 14ers, or peaks over 14,000 feet in altitude.  Many seek to summit at least one of these in their lifetime, and I guess you could say I’m one of them.  The title of this blog isn’t a typo, I’ll get to that in a minute.

A couple of weekends ago, four of us set out to conquer Mount Evans.  Yes, we know there’s a road that will take you to the top, but the hike is half of the reward.  We started at Summit Lake and headed up Mount Spalding, the mountain next to Evans.  The trail takes you to the top, and then you cross a “saddle” to reach Evans.  The summit is then on the far side.  Spalding is listed at 13,842 feet, thus making it a “13er.”  It was a super windy day, and this was noted early in the hike.  As we climbed Spalding it tapered off a little and didn’t seem so bad.  And then we reached the saddle.  The wind was coming out of the west, and fairly mean.  We spoke with a seasoned hiker on her way down and she said that this was the first time she was unable to reach the summit (of Evans) and the winds were ferocious…her estimates were upwards of 70mph.  Eek.  We figured we would get as far as we could and see how it goes.

So we crossed the saddle.  The ascent up Evans has lots of boulders and requires some crafty maneuvers.  It was more windy here than the saddle.  It was then we stopped to evaluate if we should continue.  The gusts were so strong they could almost knock you over.  A couple of us went to scout out what we had left and saw more boulders but it didn’t seem unreasonable.  Then a huge gust hit us and we decided it was unsafe to continue.  No need to be blown off of a mountain that day.  Back we went, again over Spalding to the parking lot.

We were a little disappointed we didn’t make it to the top, to stake our claim on the summit of a 14er.  We also realized that the day wasn’t a failure.  We did climb to the top of a 13er, less than 200 feet from 14,000.  We were able to fight the wind while it was safe to do so.  It was the highest most of us had hiked.  And Evans (along with the other 14ers) weren’t going anywhere, standing by to challenge us the next time we wished to try again.

Some people call me Bright Side Jen, because I choose to note the positive side of a situation.  That day, we realized what we accomplished, and there was unfinished business to be tackled another day.  Two members of that group returned to Evans last weekend and happily took their pictures on the summit.  Me?  I’ll try again next year, maybe a different mountain for a different challenge.

Think of how this can apply to your weight loss journey.  Sometimes you may fall short of a goal, but don’t forget what you have done so far.  Keep striving in that direction!

Hope you had a wonderful summer readers!

Mount Evans from the trailhead

 Mount Evans from Spalding