Monday, August 11, 2008

Leaving the lightest footprint on the mountain

Whew! On Saturday I did what I said I would never, ever do again.......I participated in the "Emperor's Challenge"! Climbing through a gorge up to the mountain summit at 6500 feet above sea level in 28 degree celsius weather is not really my idea of  a good time. I was accompanying my husband who only days earlier had announced that he was going to enter the race with my friend Julianne. I elected to enter the race only the day before because I felt that my hubby was not going to do too well on the 20km trek and didn't want his care to fall on my girlfriends shoulders. Heck, I think I even said, "I don't want you to die alone on the mountain hon....I guess I will come with you". So, in my 24 hours to prepare and trying to blank the vision of what it had been like the previous year, I tried to coach my hubby. I said, "you will be tired, you will want to give up, you will want to go back......". 

We arrived at the race 5 minutes prior to the race starting. We barely had time to register and take a last minute restroom break and the gun went off. We quickly fell to the back of the pack surrounded by clickers (those people that walk with those walking sticks) and the older crowd (82 year olds).

I learned a valuable husband is alot stronger than I give him credit for and he ROCKED THAT MOUNTAIN! It was him that said to ME, "I know you are tired, I know you want to give up, I know you want to go back!" He waited for me and in the end, helped me climb the stupid mountain. 

The Emperor's Challenge is a beautiful thing. It brings you so close to the clouds and the air is magnificent. The wildflowers are everywhere and sometimes you can spot sheep (laughing at us). I was surprised when I arrived at the water stations and saw the water being distributed in styrofoam cups. It seemed to be so against what we were there for and I don't know if anyone else noticed it. I wonder if it was a decision that was made because no thought had gone into it (the cups) or because there was  no time to make a better purchase like paper cups. 

What do you think?


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