Hello! It’s Delaney again. The last blog I wrote was a huge overview of my semester with NOLS, but I feel like I didn’t give certain events and days the attention they deserved. In this blog I want to zero in on my favorite day from the hiking section in the Wind River Range; September 3rd, the Sunrise Summit.
Monday, September 2nd, 2019:
Pizza Monday! Pizza Monday is a tradition that our group had in the backcountry. We’d sit around the kitchen and make pizza for dinner, which is a laborious process in the backcountry. It was my turn to cook that day, so I was tasked with making pizza for my group. I spent about three and a half hours making some pretty terrible pizza (it was only my second time making pizza!). My cook group ate it and smiled anyway, complementing my “hard work,” which is just another way to say it was terrible. As we were eating, we talked about what the plan was for the next day. We were supposed to have a layover day, where we didn’t move campsites. Our instructor, Jason, suggested an optional hike to summit the close-by mountain. I was in. Then my coursemate Ben suggested we wake up crazy early and summit it in time to watch the sunrise. I was hesitant. And then I was in. So, we all went to bed around 7pm to prepare for this crazy day of hiking.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019:
Luna, Maggie, Ben, Jason, and I woke up at 4:30am to start hiking. We brought one backpack filled with layers, hot water in thermoses, and dry cereal. I didn’t really think this whole hiking-in-the-dark thing out. I didn’t realize that I was going to have to use my headlamp to hike because it would still be dark out?! Maybe I was just tired. We strapped on our boots and turned on our headlamps and started hiking. The moon was out of view and the stars were so beautiful. The sky was so clear that we could see the defined Milky Way. Such a cool view. Ben led us up a difficult incline that Jason scouted for us. The mountain across from the lake was grey and black and could only be made out as an outline of where the stars stopped. We hiked in silence as we looked at the stars and at the challenging route ahead. We looked over the beautiful sight of the sun beginning to rise and hit the mountain across from us. The colors changed from black with white stars to grey and purple skies, to orange mountains, to yellow mountains and blue skies. It was incredible. Once we reached the top, we enthusiastically took in the 360 degree view. The lakes glistened below us as we pointed out the campsite we had come from the day before and our tents that looked so tiny from our vantage point. We spent some time taking in the view, eating dry cereal, and talking about the ridiculousness of dog shows (not sure why, but I remember that detail very clearly). As we descended, we saw the first stirrings of our group at our campsite. Some were just waking up, Kahil was still snoring (sorry Kahil, you snore the loudest though). After a proper hot breakfast of powdered eggs and summer sausage, Luna, Maggie, Ben, and I spent some time on the lake meditating (or trying to and getting interrupted by Milan and Max fly-fishing). I napped for the rest of the day and met up with the group in the evening for a class on styles of communication and a campfire game. After the meeting, I promptly fell asleep, ending a beautiful day in the Wind River Range.
This day was so special to me and stood out as one of my favorite days on the hiking section. The hike was strenuous and peaceful. The view was vast and beautiful. And the people were encouraging and supportive.