Exhaustion

Traverse Lake and Echo Lake Northwest Peak in the background

I’ve been hiking/climbing peaks every week since the beginning of June and to top it off last weekend I climbed two peaks and swam across the Columbia River.  No…I’m not crazy, just a few bricks shy.  Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.  I stood on top of two of the most amazing peaks in the state and then jumped off the Sternwheeler on a cool morning into the Columbia River and swam back across to Hood River with approx 500 people.  I think I’m ready to take a weekend off.  Now I typically say I’m ready for a couch potato weekend until Wednesday rolls around then something snaps in my brain pushing me to search out a peak or two on the 100 list then I head out Thursday after work for a nice overnight hike/climb.

Swimmers jumping off the Sternwheeler

Here I am, it’s Wednesday already and I feel drained.  I got up this morning headed to the Y for a swim and I just couldn’t catch my breath, so it finally hit me…I have a cold.  More precisely something like an upper resp cold, when I take a nice deep breath I feel it.  Spending every week above 8000’ for a couple days has given my body the ability to deal with it in normal situations, but when I try and exert myself in the pool I just can’t catch my breath.  I have my excuse, the easy way out; I have a cold…whew.  Will it stop me from heading out tomorrow?  To be honest, I don’t know.  The weather outside is cooling and rain showers are more frequent so how much longer do I have before the back country is out of reach for the season?

The Horn from Traverse Lake

I’m at 31 out of the 100 peaks, which is more than what I had expected for the year, but 40 doesn’t seem like it’s out of reach.  Who knows, I might be able to reach 50 before the end of the December, but should I continue to push so hard, so many questions.

Mentally I have the ability to push my body beyond what I should physically be able to do, it’s something I’ve been doing all of my life.  I dream big, I dream for life.  Just as this 100 Peaks dream/project, a lot of people have it on their “to do” list and have an open ended time-line, that’s just not me.  I want to push myself to finish it as soon as possible, who knows what I’ll dream of next.  I’m close to the point where I actually could start thinking about finishing up next year.  If I continue to push I might actually make it to 50 peaks in six months. {Deep breath}

The shadow of The Horn

One thing I know for sure, this project isn’t just a numbers game.  I have had an amazing summer; I’ve stood on top of some of the most remote peaks in the state of Oregon.  The feeling of peace and accomplishment is so fulfilling in a spiritual way.  Last week I bivied alone in a meadow next to Traverse Lake and watched as the moon rose over the ridge and lit up the basin, it was truly spectacular.  When my alarm woke me at 4:45 am I watched as the sun started to shine on the peaks to the west, what an amazing world we live in.  Evening and mornings like that fill my soul; it makes all of the physical and mental stress of getting there worth it.

So, what peak will I head for tomorrow…

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