Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Joshua Tree: Day 4

It is ironic that Tom, myself, and Seth were the ones to go for an outing today, since we are the three who have been sick. We were feeling somewhat better but still sick. Christian and Danielle were deeply engrossed in prep for their project due tomorrow and decided to spend another day working.

We climbed Ryan Mountain, which is 5457 feet high. The trail to the summit was 1.5 miles long. I have never experienced such exhaustion on a hike of that length. I had to rest at least four times before I reaching the top.

The stone steps sometimes were so steep, just trying to climb several left me breathless. This was a stark contrast to hiking five miles in the woods in Goshen, Indiana, which makes me feel fully satisfied with my exercise for the day.

This is how the trail started. It seemed like the gentle slope of a garden.

Who would have thought that growing old together could be so much fun!

A view of way below us as we climb higher—those little bumps in the back are mountains as large as this one we are hiking.

Seth, my younger son, whom I see only once or twice a year.

The path is getting steeper, and rocks on the trail are more part of the mountain itself, sharper and harder.

Almost to the top...

Come on, you can do it...

Tom helped me up the last leg of the journey.

We made it!

A little mound to show you reached the summit.

Vegetation at the top.

Just to make it official...5457 feet high!

Here's Seth's description of today's hike up the mountain: "After spending some time exploring the huge granite boulders at the foot of Mt. Ryan, we started up the trail to the peak. It wound around the mountain so that at first we got an increasingly grand view of the enormous boulder piles that clumped into a boulder mountain to our north. The higher we got, the more snow we saw. We passed around bends that would expose totally new views across the plains to more rows of tan, pink, and blue mountains. Only at the very top did we leave the shade of the highest peak. Half the horizon came into view for the first time, a massive mountain range in the western distance emerging from clouds, and flowing ranges and plains of different elevations across the southern horizon (including the low Colorado desert we visited yesterday). From the very top, we could see in every direction, and the low sun only exaggerated the enormity of the view. The joshua trees and cactii disappeared at that height, showing all the land."