Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eagle Peak

The first time I heard of Eagle Peak was when I was still new to Colorado.  One of my coworkers said, "Last year we climbed Eagle Peak."  I asked what it was and he pointed to a mountain.  I couldn't tell which one-- there are a bunch of them here.  I guess he noticed the look of confusion on my face because he said, "Yes, it's a mountain and yes we really did climb it."  He said "we" as in our unit. 

Now I like to work out.  If you follow my Facebook or Twitter, you'd notice I like bragging about how many crunches I'm doing and how I try to motivate other moms.  I like working out.  I like being fit.  But I don't like the idea of climbing a friggin mountain.  I mean, really, who the heck does that unless they're training to win some kind of medal or something?

So when our Big Boss sent out an e-mail to the staff announcing that we will be climbing Eagle Peak on Monday, I was a little ticked.  Why the heck do I need to climb a damn mountain?  I mean, seriously, I am perfectly fine with my life.  Climbing a mountain is not on my bucket list.  But I did a groan and kept my thoughts to myself.

We met up at 0700 as a unit and headed out on the trail.  I admit I started with a grumpy attitude.  I didn't growl at anyone, but I was pretty quiet and watched as everyone chatted excitedly amongst each other.  But it was only because I was scared as hell of what we were about to do.  I am not a mountain climber.  I am the girl who will run a mile and a half only because the Air Force tells me to.  And I hate it.  So as everyone else seemed to be skipping with their heads in the clouds, I was freaking out inside.
My attitude changed rapidly, though.  As soon as we entered the woods, my nerves quickly calmed.  The scenery was stunning.  I was in awe of the fact that just minutes ago I was grumbling as I walked a dirt trail and all of a sudden I was surrounded by... peace.  God's work.  The feeling was different, as if I entered a totally different world.  The sounds were that of nature, pure and uninfluenced by man.  Everything stood still, yet everything seemed to be watching us as we navigated these woods. 
Now don't get me wrong, it was not an easy hike.  It was uphill the entire time... okay, okay, I know, I know.  It's a mountain, duh...  It was actually pretty tough!  All the marathoners and younger folks were way ahead of those of us who were not cardiologically fit.  (Like how I just made up that word?)  There were huge rocks to climb over, some lose gravel, and an incline that didn't appear to give us a break.
And then to our surprise, an aspen meadow sprouted in our path and it almost made us forget we were climbing a mountain.  It was absolutely, incredibly tantalizing.  Flowers surrounded us.  Birds flew above us.  And the flat of the land gave our legs a break.  It was almost unreal.  I was scared it was going to turn out to be that meadow of sleepy roses that the witch in The Wizard of Oz got Dorothy to pass out in.  Nevertheless, we smiled and walked quietly through this meadow, welcoming the gift.  What we didn't know was it was really the calm before the storm.

The rest of the way was ready to get us back to work.  The incline seemed to rush at us and many of us were huffing and puffing, pulling ourselves up over even more rocks.  Imagine doing the elliptical ... only with a pretty view.  Once we got past the treeline, it dawned on me.  I'm CLIMBING A FRIGGIN MOUNTAIN.  Excitement swept through me.  I couldn't believe it.  I was really doing it.  Suddenly, I no longer paid any attention to my burning legs.  I felt closer to the friggin sun.

Heck yeah.  I climbed a mountain.  How the heck did I ever deserve such an opportunity!  Have you ever survived something so crazy that when you came out of it, you were so grateful for ... well, everything?  That's how I felt at the top of that mountain.  As if I was this lowly creature who had been given a gift.  I had to work my ass off to get to it, but holy crap would I do it again.  I felt as if I shed a little negativity on my way up and gained more appreciation for life in its place.  The feeling is incredible.

When we got back down to the bottom of the mountain, we all stood around in awe of ourselves.  We congratulated each other, high-fived each other and laughed at the fact that we just climbed a mountain.  Then, we noticed the sign.  Some of us didn't read it before we started.  We learned that we just climbed 1.25 miles to the top of the mountain, 1900 feet in elevation gain.  Crazy!!
I learned something important this day.
I can do anything I allow my body to do.
And so can you.
Some of us were super psyched to be at the top while some of us were simply still trying to take it all in.
I thought it would be fun to act like I'm meditating...IN THE SKY!
Flowers in the meadow.



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