After a bit (about a mile up the road) it sounded to me as though the other’s might be getting lucky with a ride, so I waited for the next vehicle to catch up to me as I had gone on up a hill and around a couple curves ahead of the others. They didn’t even slow down when they caught up to me, so my hopes for a ride were suddenly dashed. I couldn’t see in the windows, but Mat and Danielle were in fact in the back seat and getting a ride up. A little Nissan Sentra was taking him where his Jeep couldn’t go! The next vehicle to come along stopped and asked if I would like a ride, and there was Josh in the back seat!
During the conversation that ensued, we discovered that the two guys in the front seat had grown up in Fort Dodge, and a further connection was that the driver’s aunt was Josh and Danielle’s Spanish teacher in Algona, Mrs. Bowman. Josh shared that Spanish class was where he first started hitting on Danielle… it was serendipitous, and we all were amazed at the connections and appreciated the Iowa values of helping one another that brought us together. The girl in the back seat with us was from Colorado.
So, it was with a great deal of good feelings and the company of new-found companions that we reached the trailhead, collected our gear and set out on the expected leg of our mountain adventure at 6:39 a.m. to tackle the Class 2 route up Greys Peak. Josh noted our starting point was 11,175’. We made our way to the trailhead and snapped a few pictures of the maps posted there before getting on our way in earnest. The first part of the trail was a steady incline of steps that was pretty straightforward through scrub willows that began to push in after a while where they grew a little thicker. The trail followed an old mining trail up Stevens Gulch.
At 7:20 a.m. Josh took some IBs for his bit of a headache. This always seems to be the first sign in our family of the effects of altitude, although I am very thankful that I have not had to experience the problem. We had an enjoyable hike through the morning, although we were traveling at a relatively slow pace with periodic rest stops. Mat was determining our rest stops and we fell into a pattern where I would keep going and then Danielle would resume the hike and we would go on ahead a ways and wait for the other two to catch up. I don’t really like to stop that much and I found that anything more than a brief rest break caused my legs to feel rather tired as I set out walking again and got the blood flowing once again. I decided to just set out at a slower pace until Danielle would catch up to me and then pick it up a bit again.
We had a bit of minor celebration when we passed the mine where we had turned around and gone back down on our last attempt up Greys when Danielle succumbed to altitude sickness; and we spent a bit of time there before heading back down. This year I had put out the word that no matter what someone might struggle with that I was going to the peak even if someone else had to turn back at some point. We enjoyed the quiet victory as we continued on up the beautiful valley.