oops. sorry I left you all in the emergency room at Jackson Hole. I got really busy as soon as I got off the mountain.
Summiting the Grand was, well, wait for it, a Peak Experience. Sorry. But it was. The first day was a very long hike up to our base camp and early to bed. The second started at 3 AM. We reached the top at 8:15 AM. That morning, in the dark, I secretly harbored the hope & fear that I would quit when we reached the "no turning back alone" point indicated by Anne, our guide (the lava field). I had a speech prepared to send my son to the top without me - how he'd have the opportunity in his lifetime to go places I'd never reach, scale heights, blah blah blah. Anne smartly sensed my silent speech writing and didn't ask me if I was ready to keep going. She conspired with my son to get me to the top. And we made it.
Climbing has much in common with marathoning. How do you run a marathon, start moving your feet and don't stop. Well, the same advice goes for reaching the summit. Just keep moving.
The low altitude conditions made me child-like in my thinking. The early morning darkness made it impossible to see the sheer drop-offs that would have terrified me in daylight. The view from the top - memorable. Especially since the camera I bought just for this moment FAILED! I received that as an invitation from the mountain to return again with my younger son in a few years.
The down-climb was intense and as difficult, if not more dangerous, than climbing up. Mostly you have to do it backwards. The rappel was a kick. Especially fun was watching the guy coming down after us on his own line - which was too short - and alarmed the rangers out for a day hike. They jumped into action and helped the guy get down from where he had stranded himself. While his girl friend was looking on. There's always someone doing some stupid sh!t on the mountain to be a lesson to us all.
The mountain was really nothing more than a very large pile of crumbling rocks. Hugely impressive. We had a quick lunch at the base camp and then hiked down. Because of my injury, I didn't tie my boot securely enough on the way down. That meant I crushed my big toe. Every footfall hurt. But there's no way out but walking. And again, marathoning was my teacher. If you keep moving, the pain in your foot will go away, replaced by a pain somewhere else. I lost the nail a couple weeks later.
But I still managed to complete a 100 km ride out of Amsterdam and then the Century Ride at the World Road Cycling Championships in Limburg last month. 165 Km of pure pleasure. Now I'm settling into the winter running season. I know it's not winter yet. But it's cold and rainy. which is the definition of winter. More soon. Much love. C