Sunday, September 5, 2010
My son and his wife, along with a few of their friends, have chosen to spend Labor Day weekend climbing this mountain in Colorado--a fourteener by all accounts, which means it's well over two miles high. That's a little ambitious for "not used to the altitude" flat-landers. They left excitedly in the wee hours of the morning, after Turtle had spent half the night trying to give them a crash course in survival. Their pile of stuff was formidable: compass, whistle, space blankets, first-aid stuff, sun screen, mole skin, tent, sleeping bags, matches, flint and steel, water purifier, and lightweight sporks in brilliant colors. Even more impressive was all the stuff they didn't have room for: a net to dry the dishes, a handy, dandy little mess kit all shiny, a cook stove with fuel, a Backpacker magazine with an article on "surviving in the wilds".
Although it's just an easy trail they are climbing, with the temperatures and the altitude, I'm a little nervous. My phone is charged and ready to get that text that says: "We're down."
And while I wait I remember a similar trek that my sisters and I once took, up the side of Popocateptl Volcano near Mexico City. It was cold in brilliant sunshine. We hiked four and a half hours and reached a spot about half-way up the snow-covered summit. From there, only the professional climbers went on. We practically ran back down. All of us. My parents were along that time. I was only twelve years old. Here's a picture of the mountain we climbed.
I think climbing is easier than waiting.