Thursday, July 9, 2009

7 July 2009 - Trail 13 Kettle Range

I'm sitting on the side of a mountain. I am being pounded by hail. I can't feel my hands, and my feet have been water logged since morning. I still have over two hours of hiking in the rain until I camp for the night. Did I quit my job for this?

The rain and cold don't matter. I am sitting on an open mountainside surrounded by thousands of wildflowers--orange, yellow, and purple. I am at one of the highest points in hundreds of miles and through the clouds, I can see rain falling on at least a dozen other mountain peaks. No one else has this view. No one else can appreciate this like me. You could climb this mountain 1,000 times and never get the same weather and corresponding view that I have. I quit my job for this.

Over the next few hours I will descend from the mountain. Throughout the hike, the temperature will rise, the rain will soften, and the clouds will break up. The sun will start shining through aperatures in the clouds, heating up my neighboring mountainsides. Moisture will rise from the forest floor and schools of fog will race over mountain ridges, joining up with the other ascending clouds. Finally, all evidence of a storm will have dissipated. Only I will have witnessed the transformation from a mountaintop storm to a idyllic sunset. Only I will experience this awesomeness. Yes, I'm happy that I quit my job.

Some clouds above and below us.

Hiding from the hail.

Campsite after the rain and hail stopped and after we descended a bit from Copper Butte.

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