Monday, August 10, 2015

Tallest Ridge

Our first day was behind us and a 1,800 foot elevation gain before us.  Lizard Head trail was where we where headed.  Knowing most of today would be up hill left me with mixed feelings.  I love ridge hiking, where you're walking on the tippy-top of the mountain.  I love being able to see glaciers, and myriads of mountain tops poking their heads up in the distances. I love feeling small in comparison.

Usually the first mile in a hike is a good warm up for the rest of your day. This however; was not the case for this hike. The first mile was very pleasant as we walked away from the Cirque. The terrain was green and lush making the surrounding mountains look very harsh and powerful in contrast. There was no gradually gain of  elevation. One moment it was like a morning stroll in the park and the next you got slapped in the face with the reminder that, no, this is not a walk in some quaint tame little city park, but this was a hike through a wild place. A place not made for the faint of heart.

The sign in the photo to the right was also a good reminder of this. You may or may not be able to see, but the sign is no longer informative. The words have been scrapped off either by wind and snow or animals. Though I'm sure both have worked together to leave the hiker questioning for a moment as to whether or not they should proceed with their intended route.  We of course decided to continue full speed ahead.  It would be hard and most likely we'd each take turns attending our own pity parties, but they would be very short lived in light of what we had the privilege to see.

I could continue to write about how extremely heavy my backpack was and how it really cramped my style during this extreme uphill climb, but I won't waste your time by going into so much detail about that. Instead I'd like to tell you about all the amazing flowers there where the  higher we got.  

It was truly incredible. Who would think at once you were above 11,000 feet that the ground around you would explode into so many colors.  We saw columbine, ox eye daisies, buttercups, Indian paint brush, queens crown, common fireweed,  mountain lupine,  monkshood, alpine for-get-me-nots, and marsh- marigolds. I'm sure there were many more, but this helps give you an idea.  Here we where in a harsh environment with thousands of delicate flowers blanketing the mountain sides.

Another thing we found as we continued to climb was water.  And this wasn't visible snow melt which is so common, but spring water.  Water so clear and cool bubbling right up out of the ground. Being on top of the ridge and seeing water flowing everywhere around us was amazing. I thought by August everything but the glacier produced streams and drainages would've been dry.
This is Lizard Head Peak and the lake closest to it is Bear Lake.

Oh, and let me just say, if you've never gotten to see a glacier, you need to. Now these glacier are not as big as they once used to be, but they where no less impressive in my mind. Just look at this! As you look at all the rocky ridges around you, you see that at one time they all house glaciers of their own. You could see where the glacier slid down out of the mountains carving a path for themselves and the water to follow.

All day my mind was being blown by the astonishing creation surrounding me. I still can't understand how most people can look at these incredible works and attribute them to chance. If you listen you can hear them screaming out that they were hand crafted. Chance could not ever make something so inspiring. The beauty of this place was hard to take in.  I wish these photograph did their reality better justice. I almost hate photographing these mountains and glaciers because the photographs are completely unable to capture their immense majesty. I am humble by such landscapes, it makes me ask the question, "Who am I?"

Cathedral Peak 12,000ft high

The river in the picture is the Wind River. 

No comments:

Post a Comment