Sunday, July 10, 2005

hands and knees.

This past Thursday, a few of us had the afternoon off of work, and some had the day off altogether.  Taking advantage of the spectacular 75 degree sunny weather, we decided to hike.  At Snow Mountain Ranch there are only three main hikes: Five Peaks, Nine Mile, and Waterfall.  So naturally, we wanted to expand our horizons.  Thankfully, Rick Zomer, Associate Dean of Residence Life and director of LCI, was here again last week, and he told us about an exciting hike. 

“This book I have says that there’s a moderate hike near Winter Park.  It gains 900 feet in elevation over 3/4 of a mile.”

Much to our surprise, the Programs Department at SMR knew nothing of the hike.  The trail book said to park off of Berthod Pass and start hiking near an orange “Avalance Warning” sign.  At least we didn’t have to worry about avalanches during the summer.  Berthod Pass connects Snow Mountain Ranch to Highway 70, the main highway out of Denver.  It winds through the mountains, and is high in elevation.  We all agreed that a 900 feet elevation gain from this starting point would allow for a spectacular view.  After we parked our cars and headed up the trail, we soon realized that this was no normal trail.  It was far from a moderate hike.  On our hands and knees, we planned each step, ensuring that no rocks would lose their place and careen down the slope.  We couldn’t believe where we were. 

“Oh my gosh you guys,” Jill exclaimed.  “This is not cool.”

In the exhiliration, disbelief, and fear of the moment, we kept climbing until we reached the top.  This forty-five minute hike turned into an hour and a half crawl up a slope meant for far more serious equipment than hands and feet. 

“Anyone have any ropes?” Amanda jokingly remarked about the seriousness of the climb.  “I cannot believe we just climbed that.”  That was the first time during the whole hike that we took the situation lightly. 

Looking down the rocky slope, we realized how difficult the ascent was.  Either the rocky climb was not part of the trail, or Rick Zomer’s hiking book told a huge lie about its difficultly.  After sitting down for a while, we prepared ourself for the climb down.  This time, however, we zig-zagged through the woods on the other side of the mountain toward the road.  Who knows what our descent would look like if those woods weren’t there.  We refused to go down the same way we came up.  I’ll be the first to say that the hike back down was much easier. 

I think Amanda summed up the hike nicely:  “If you don’t like someone, you definitely need to bring them on this hike.”
.... No, not to lose them on the way up (as we joked about later on), but to experience some true team bonding.  This is one hike we won’t soon forget. 

Oh, and by the way, the pictures make it look much easier!

Posted by Jeremy V. on 07/10 at 01:18 AM
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