I was taking a very long Memorial Day weekend holiday for my first climb of the season, and arrived in Salida on a Thursday afternoon. After checking into my motel room, I drove out to the Mt. Princeton trailhead to make sure that I could find it. Here's the view from the 2WD parking lot; Mt. Princeton is not yet visible:
On Friday morning I drove up to 11,000 feet on the 4WD road, parked, and started hiking from there. After hiking for a few minutes I rounded a switchback and noticed that clouds had formed below me:
Another view from above the clouds, a bit further up the road:
I've been above the clouds many times in the cabin of an airplane, but it's always a special treat to be above the clouds with both feet firmly on the ground.
At 11,800 you leave the road and enter the hiking trail. The summit comes into full view at around 12,000:
A closer view of summit, from around 12,600:
I don't know why, but at 12,600 I started getting dizzy. I've climbed eleven 14ers in the past five years, and that has never happened before. Maybe on this trip I should have given myself more time to acclimatize. Maybe I should have picked an easier 14er for my first hike of the season. Or maybe I'm not in as good condition as I thought I was. In any event, it is a cardinal rule when hiking to turn around if you start getting dizzy. So I turned back.
On my hike down I had a nice view of the Arkansas River valley. That's Buena Vista in the distance:
In her book "The Balance Within", immunologist and author Esther Sternberg speaks of the need for each of us to find a place of peace. Just as we take our cars in to be serviced every five thousand miles, we need to do that with ourselves. For me that place of peace where the balance within is serviced is the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It doesn't matter which mountain, and, ultimately, it doesn't really matter whether I gain the summit. Just being there maintains the balance within.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):