With a pack of persevering peers, I traversed jagged ridges and steep peaks, I stomped through dampening rain and hollering, icy wind and I battled tirelessly the unforgiving force of altitude a rigorous 14,000 feet towards the sun.
But what made me the most proud?
I peed on a rock!
I have had a major fear of peeing in the wilderness. Not so much the act itself, but the physics involved to avoid peeing on my leg, pants and shoes- plus the anxiety of what might be staring hungrily at my backside while I produce the humming theme song of Mother Nature. If I were a tick, I’d stand at the ready near the human peeing ground and pounce while the silly creatures squatted toward me.
People were shocked that I’d never gone outdoors before without an outhouse. I remember even in college during a late night at the bar, I’d be the one to sprint home to get to a porcelain oasis rather than ducking into an alley. I had a friend who had given up entirely on perfecting peeing posture so she would instead sit on the grass with her legs out in front of her, pants at her ankles and release. All this just to avoid ruining her party clothes.
Long story short, I’m growing. And flowing more freely than ever.
It’s truly something special how everyone becomes family at the summit. Groups of teenagers and silver-haired climbers all share in a general comaradarie over the majestic view of Earth’s wonder and an accomplishment earned stride by stride.
It really is a task of mind over matter as the variance in ages and fitness levels reflect.
At one point, I felt as if I were an actress on set of the movie Lord of the Rings VIII while traversing a rock graveyard of slates and grays, but that didn’t stop my boyfriend and I from finishing in the lead pack.
The altitude had a different effect on everyone causing challenges from headaches to breathlessness. For me, I experienced a severe lack of appetite. Clearly the altitude can do the unthinkable and it can strike anyone at anytime. My snacks survived with no more than a nibble. Such a travesty.
When we left Denver, it was forecasted to be 85F outside. An hour west it was 72F and up at the top of the mountain after a 3 hour hike, 50F. I could walk and drive for hours in Chicago and barely differentiate the muggy heat of one town from the sweaty stickiness of the next.
Beers and burgers flowed once returning to 5000ft and a toast was made to friends, fitness and the great state of Colorado.