Couldn’t get much higher: Top of the Rockies

Mt. Elbert 2
Mt. Elbert 2 (Photo credit: thefrazh)

Update: We reached the summit about 15 minutes after this was posted. Not a bad guess, since it was written a couple of days ago and scheduled to hit the blog at 11:59 a.m. Aug. 17. Mrs. Smith actually got to the top first and we had a nice little party when the rest of us caught up with her. Perfect weather. It was indeed strenuous, both ways. My feet did hurt (still do) and I did not whine. No more than was appropriate, anyway.

* * *

Assuming that the weather has cooperated and everything else has gone well, Mrs. Smith and I are now at or near the summit of the highest mountain in the Rockies, Mt. Elbert, at 14,443 14,440 feet above sea level.

Daughter Sarah and her boyfriend, Patrick, are with us, or probably up ahead somewhere. We are celebrating Sarah’s birthday (yesterday) and mine (today). This hike was Sarah’s idea. By now I have probably decided that it was a good one.

This is not mountain climbing. It is what is described as a “strenuous” hike on some web pages and “easy” on others: 4.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of 4,500+ feet. Thin air.

Seeing as how we have to go both ways rather than just one, I’m going with “strenuous.”

My feet hurt, but I am not whining.

To answer some typical birthday questions:

  • No, I actually feel younger than I have in 20 years, maybe more.
  • You already know how old I am: over 40.
  • I’m pleased to be here, and more than a little surprised.
  • What am I going to do on my birthday? I just did it.

Pedal on.

Or hike on, if that’s how you roll.