It’s a brief one tonight, and since I enjoy hiking, let’s keep it in that genre.
Every year that we go to Estes Park, I try to do at least one hike. Last year it was the Estes Cone, which wasn’t terribly tough until the last .7 mile, when we climbed almost 1,000′. The year before it was Deer Mountain. The next time we go (whenever that is) I plan to attempt Chasm Lake, which I did with my older brother about 15 years ago.
Now, to be sure, these are tough hikes for the uninitiated and for the out-of-shape, but for others, they’re not much of a challenge. I fall in the middle…a decent hiker, but not very hard-core at all. And I look at Colorado’s “Fourteeners” as the pinnacle of my hiking endeavors, realizing that 14,000′ is just halfway to the top of Mount Everest.
On May 16,1975, Junko Tabei scrambled her way to the top of the world’s most inaccessible place, scaling Mount Everest and becoming the first woman to do so. She was one of a 15-member all-woman team that set out to conquer this most famous of the Himalayan mountains, following the same path taken by Hillary and Norgay in the 1950s.
As fun as climbing is for me, I know how difficult it can be. My climbs (well, let’s be honest, they’re just “hikes”) don’t much go over 12,000′, are always done in fair weather, and are always done in a day. But even then, I struggle some with the altitude and less oxygen. So it’s really hard for me to comprehend the ordeal that Tabei (and men and women like her) must face when challenging Everest, much less write anything that sounds all that good.
So I think I’ll just tip my walking cap to Junko and shake my head in wonder.
I would love to stand atop Mount Everest…but I could never even begin to make the ascent.
Recommended Reading: Into Thin Air