Hiking is my favorite activity while at Horn Creek. The camp sits below Horn Peak, last year I vowed to get in good enough shape to climb it. I knew the challenge would be largely physical, however on the psychological side- I'm pretty scared of heights. On Tuesday of this past week, Shari and I climbed to the top. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Horn Peak is in the Sangre De Christo mountain range. While not a famed "14er", it's a very good challenge to climb. Here are some pictures of our journey below. The first is during the ascent through the Aspen trees.
After reaching treeline, the ascent is fast. Here we're trudging up the last section with grass. The last 1000 feet or so are rock. We're at 12,000 ft in this picture. That means 5 steps up, gasp for air, 5 more steps, etc. It took us 5 hours to climb 4500 feet from camp to the summit. The last 1000 feet took an hour and a half! I was glad to have been jogging in preparation, I would have surely keeled over otherwise.
In what can only be described as a "pentecostal moment" (for a Presbyterian anyways), I was about ready to find a way to quit (did I mention I'm scared of heights?) as we ascended the "false summit" (a peak just below the main peak), when I said to God- "Please Lord, don't let me quit now". Just then, a beautiful Mule Deer appeared just 25 yards in front of me. He stared at me as if to say- "come on wimp...get up this mountain". Obviously I cannot say for certain that God sent that Muley to motivate me, but the notion can't be completely ruled out either. It wasn't like a mangy dog showed up, it was a deer..at over 12,000 feet...well within bow range no less! I took it as a sign and gathered strength to get to the 12,600 ft. false peak.
Below is a picture of us resting on the false peak. Splendid view for sure. Shari is wearing the pink hat and I'm in the red warm up. I actually packed 4 shirts. I sweated like a pig up to treeline, then the temp dropped off dramatically and got pretty cool at the top.
Here's a good picture of Shari and I making our way from the false peak to the summit. Nothing but rock climbing for the last 800 feet.
Wow. Reaching the summit brings an indescribable feeling. Did I mention how I am scared of heights? God gave me special grace in this area as I felt pretty good psychologically.
Climbing Horn Peak was one of the hardest physical feats of my life. I have a new found respect for people who climb mountains on a regular basis. I can't think of too many activities that are more challenging.
For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,and declares to man what is his thought,who makes the morning darkness,and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! (Amos 4:13)