Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 73-Summer Solstice

We both slept horriably.  Just like when climbing San Luis we decided to cowboy camp so we could get a quicker start, but because it was so hot during the day it never cooled off at night so the mosquito never quiet.  Portrait didn't think he slept for more than an hour, and I kept waking up and asking if it was time to get up.  We left camp just after midnight for the three mile hike to the top.  Once we were out of the trees the moon was big and bright enough to light our way and we didn't need our headlamps.  We lost the trail when it went into a snow patch, but found it again on the other side with the help of the GPS.  It was clear that we were going to get to the summit much too early, but there wasn't anything we could do about that in the wind on the exposed mountain. 
The sun coming up.  We watched from a wind break built from rocks just below the summit.  We passed the dark hours in our sleeping bags.  I snuggled deep into mine and even managed a pre-sunrise nap. 
Looking out over the wind break wall at the rockies. 
Sunrise on the summit.  The longest day of the year welcomed from the highest peak in the state.
Looking north from the summit--I hadn't seen the view when we reached the top at 3:20 a.m.
On the way down we passed a parade of people coming up.  There had to be a least 50 people coming up the mountain.  Many were surprised to see us already coming down.
Look close and you might spot the marmot in the picture (He's kind of in the middle, with snow behind him and a pointed rock to the left of him).  He was watching the never ending stream of people pass by on the trail.  We ended up hiking many more miles, but nothing I saw compared to the beauty on top of Mount Elbert. 

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