Albion Basin, Alta, Summer 2006
Up. And up. As long as the eye can see, wrapping around the next ridge, the next hill, and on into eternity. The endless climb. Burning legs, lungs at capacity, the rocks on the dirt slowly passing underneath feet and wheels. Gravity tugging gently at jersey pockets.
Suddenly the world opens up. Everywhere the earth stretches out, on and on, and on. The air is cool and crisp. Thin. The trees start to spread out. Meadows are full of flowers. In the shade snow lingers. Elevation.
And still, up and up. Fatigue creeps from within, evident in salty stains. The chain groans under the pressure, dry and dusty. Above, so close, the summit. But ahead an innumerable path of switchbacks. Onward.
And then, finally, the top. The wind is blowing. Far below a glimpse of city streets tangled beneath a dirty haze. No trees. Just boulders. And a few resilient flowers. A deep breath is shallow and short. Thin air fills the lungs, lightheaded ecstasy. Altitude.
Sacred elevation. Sacred mountain top. A place where few have been. And fewer will ever go. To difficult. To painful. No time for nature. Watch it on television. Vicarious adventure. What shallow ambition!
No chair lifts here. Just muscle and gritted teeth. The high country. The endless climb.