Colorado – Day 8
We did it!
Awoke at 5:00am. Had coffee and started up the Mt. Elbert Northeast Ridge trail at about 5:40 am with headlamps on. Climbed from 10,300′ to 14,433′ in around 4 miles of trail. It was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. I considered giving up and turning back several times, but kept mind over matter. Eating an elephant is done one bite at a time, that’s the only thing I could tell myself. Take twenty steps and rest. Twenty and rest. At about 10:00 to 10:30am we summited. Mt. Elbert is the highest 14’er in Colorado and the second highest point in the lower 48 states. I cannot put into words how grueling this hike was.
At a trail intersection about 100′ below the summit we met another hiker wearing a WVU ballcap. Found out he was from Princeton and had gone to college with a good friend of mine. I was completely whipped after we got off the mountain. Shoot, it took us a good hour and half from summit to treeline on a 40 degree slope. It just beat your knees to death. We celebrated by getting a big burger and fries at Wild Bill’s in Leadville then drove back to Denver.