Reach 12,633 feet on the first weekend in November.
That was the goal I set for myself on this chilly morn at the base of Mount Humphrey in Flagstaff; the State of Arizona’s highest point.
The snow is about a minute away from falling as I start hiking through the field to the trailhead. The snow making machines of the ski resort are running on overtime. The nip in the air is pricking at my fingertips, which I realize could be a problem the nearer I get to the summit, but having forgotten gloves, I can do little about it now unless I turn back…
which is not an option.
The morning quiet in the forest weighs heavy on my mind. The silence is eventually broken by other hikers that awoke far earlier than myself to see the sunrise from the summit, as they are making their way back down the trail.
It’s not even 7am yet. Their are always more adventurous souls out there.
I reach the halfway point and the wind has numbed my fingers. I may lose them to frostbite.
As the sun breaks free of the clouds I see my final ascent in front of me. Frozen but determined, I climb with a driving will of unknown force to the summit. I find a small cluster of trees to shelter myself in from the wind as I take in the awe inspiring beauty that is all around me.
I meditate with the north rim of the Grand Canyon on one side, the White mountains on the other, and the spirits of lost loves swirling around me everywhere.