08 July, 2015

this is where my heart lives

So it rained most of the day. This was okay. The yellow orb of death is particularly pernicious at altitude, and there is not enough sunscreen in the world for me.

We got up stupid-early, though, to make it to the summit before the rains and predicted storms, because no one wants to be at 12000 feet in lightning.

This was the view about, oh, 8-9000 feet up. The forests are mostly spruce, some pine, some aspen. They're super dense, long skinny trunks close together, a canopy of needles, a carpet of little spruce all trying to grow up. The higher you get, the smaller the trees become, both in height and in the slenderness of their limbs. By 10,000 feet, the branches are like fingers.

Fog rolled over our position about two minutes after we took that shot.

Then we climbed into the clouds, quite literally. At treeline, we passed into a fog that rivals anything I've seen come off the Pacific. The temperatures kept dropping, too. We were in the low 40s by the time we cleared the fog and got mostly above it.

At the summit, or damn near (which is 12000 feet, the last 1000 or so of  which one must hike on foot), we had moments of snow. It didn't flake, exactly, and it didn't stick, but it blew around my face and it made me happy. It's my first snowfall in almost ten years.

This is a view from the summit, between passing clouds. The snow is leftover glacier. There were elk munching tundra grass nearby. (Nous got photos; he has a better camera, and more patience with taking pictures.) I just stood there and breathed the cold wind and soaked up as much of this place as I could.

This is where my heart lives.