Jul 13, 2012
I've always considered mountains sacred but today that was re-enforced on my climb to the summit of Mt. Audubon, a 13,223' summit in the Indian Peaks near my home In Boulder. I've climbed it countless times and was climbing it solo today in an attmept to get in condition for some 14'er climbs I'm doing in a few weeks.
A beautiful, cloudless day. Perfect for getting out of the 95 degree heat of town into the alpine glory above treeline. I love spending time on mountaintops and have been privy to some private, life changing moments in the lives of others. I've overheard marriage proposals and breakups.
Today when I reached the summit, there were two other parties at the top. I usually go up to the other parties, say "hello", offer to take their photos, ask where they are from, etc. Today I didn't do that. For some reason, I took the first rock "nest", had a brief snack and enjoyed looking at the surrounding summits, revelling in the fact that I had stood on most of them and remembering the good times on those climbs.
As I was watching the three people about 25 yards from me along the ridge, they went to the ridgeline. The woman in the group opened a bag and emptied ashes into the light wind. She then turned around and kneeled to the ground where she was comforted by the two men she was with. The scene brought tears to my eyes. I assumed that she was elderly, but when they passed me on the way down, I saw that they were probably in their 30's. A beautiful, solemn, sacred occasion. I felt blessed to have shared it.