Total Miles: 287.0
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
When does one become the other?
Thru-hiking is about very little else if not repetition, the millions of steps that link it all together being merely the prerequisite for success. In time, the repetition becomes a foregone conclusion, the framework that allows your mind to wander and to wonder, until it finally comes into focus: this moment, this minute is all there is. The pounding in your heart one minute, the lactic acid feeling in your legs the next, the blissful shade of a cloud passing overhead. All of it fleeting, the good and the bad. Seen through that lens, repetition is never monotony, consistency never banality. They simply open the door to everything that comes after.
We wasted little time today working our way up over 11,000 feet on an idyllic summer day, with the trail once again all to ourselves. One of these days we’re sure to run into another thru-hiker, though all of us thought today might be that day. Alas, it’ll have to wait at least one more.
By early afternoon, the famously predictable weather of a Colorado summer began to make good on its reputation as the empty blue sky became flecked with small puffs of cumulus clouds before building into larger, darker versions with wisps of rain drawing down from those in the distance. It was an odd sort of harmony with the daily repetition we now live by—apparently even the weather doesn’t tire of its own tendencies, never growing weary of its afternoon routine. Fortunately, the wisps never came our way nor did any thunder or lightning though I’m sure our time will come.
Sweet Pea was the real champ of the day, persevering through a mild bout of acute mountain sickness on account of the rapid transition to high elevation in the past day and a half. Battling her way through a day of nausea and fatigue, the miles were hard won and even in spite of that daylong battle we still managed to finish earlier than usual. With a few leisurely days planned ahead, there should be plenty of time for recovery and acclimatization.
There was even a cairn sized just for her waiting at the end of the day as a personalized congratulations of a sort.