One false summit after another, the non existing trail was rising relentlessly and without mercy once the climb had started. The first mile took us through a meadow, along the giant granite Dome, and the occasional but manageable incline. This was behind us now and the remainder to the lake would be steep, steep, and even steeper. Is that a word? Anyhow, it was a smooth and slippery incline that wasn’t going to let up. The terrain got rockier as we passed bolder fields and moonlike landscapes. Desert varnish streaks, indicating where seasonal waterfalls had run over the smooth granite, polishing it to it’s smooth surface.
Boulders were a natural part of the landscape. At times it was a single rock making it’s path down the mountain until the final resting place. Other times they came in clusters, even a field. Glacial erratics, once buried under thick ice, now revealed due to giant glaciers long gone. Leaving behind a new picture, a new landscape carved over time. It was incredible to imagine what this landscape must have looked like. Surely only the highest tips of the mountains were visible while the rest slumbered under the ice.
At one point, I was huffing and puffing across the steep incline in a sideways motion as if maneuvering invisible switchbacks. It was simply too steep to go straight up. Ankles were twisted, trying to find a good grip, and it was there that the question raised whether we should turn around. It was hot and I was struggling. Air was hard to come by and I had an elevation headache. I could feel my pulse pounding in the back of my neck, and lost track of many times I’d already overcame the desire to quit. “No, not now, look how far you have come, you’re not a quitter, where is your warrior spirit, you know you will never forgive yourself for turning around now, it’s now or never, what are you made of – this your time to show it, you just have to go slow and believe that you can do it, no pain no gain – remember?” These were some of the thoughts that went through my mind as if cheering me on and making quitting an impossible choice to consider. And with it I carried on.
Over 73 flight of stairs climbed in 1.5 miles, 16,663 steps and a round trip of 6.7 miles.