The sun fell away from the granite mountains. I stood in the middle of two peaks on the side of another, 13,000 feet high, shivering and unprepared for the absence of the sun. The heat made its farewell. The cold introduced itself. I shunned its surprise intensity. As often happens when I find myself unprepared, I started to doubt. I started crave any semblance of comfort I could latch onto. Did I err in taking this chance without the gear I may have needed? Visions of WFR training flashed in my mind. No! I reasoned with myself. This vision is a fairy tale. I may be cold. I may be cold all night. However, there was something more to be done. It may rain on me in the night, my bag may freeze, and I may find myself shivering and lacking enough gear. Yet, this was not the case right then. It was merely my imagination trying to fix everything before it happened.
As I lay there, I began to let all the possibilities go. I would sleep a few hours, wiggle out of my sleeping bag, and then immediately awaken to the shock of the cold wind against my body. Soon the sound of footsteps and labored voices found their way up the side of the mountain. A few would stop, ask me silly questions such as, "How'd you sleep? Cold?" Har har ...
I cleaned up my gear, and stared up at the mountain. It looked ferociously cold, yet what was the journey for if I didn't just tough it out. A man came by and offered me a hat for my bald head, and suddenly all doubt vanished. I could not let this good gesture go without an accomplishment. I soon found myself at the summit. It was just another summit for me. Yet it was about something more.
I noticed something in the night, something during the hike up, something scrambling up the side of the rock. I was soft. I was not ready in my mind for many journeys. Yet, here I was, and I was one of the people who easily scaled the peak. I was one of the people who was not out of breath at 14,000 ft. People took me for a local, and were bewildered when I told them I lived in the Midwest. The world is often a place of unimaginable possibilities, and sometimes we must foresee the possibilities that seem out of our grasp or out of our possibilities. I must shoot not for what I can accomplish in an afternoon lingering by a ranger station. I shall shoot for those things that take much work, much of my mind and much of my strength to accomplish. For Long's Peak was a fun experience, but nothing as others made it out to be.
It's time I start shooting for my real potential.