A Tramping Trilogy: Golden Hour
The second to last day of 2011 found us, once again, climbing high into the Southern Alps in search of a view.
A late start, a steep climb, a long rest, and some blind route-finding (lesson: always bring a map) meant we were behind schedule… and not even standing on the true summit of the peak we came to climb. No matter. The sun lingers on late into the evening at this time of year, leaving us plenty of time to savor the glow from the slopes of Mount Armstrong.
Our false summit was a crumbling, rocky pinnacle along the ridgeline, barely wide enough to fit our party of six.
Nate, Steph, Alex, Aeryca and Deborah (pleased to find themselves 3,000 miles away from the Portland rain), and a friendly Spaniard to take the shot.
The panorama was broad and dynamic. Directly below, a cliff tumbled several hundred feet into the Makarora Valley.
To the north, a sharp, sinuous ridge led from our feet up to the icy frame of Mount Brewster.
All around us, familiar peaks ringed the horizon and revived memories of adventures past. Mount Awful and the Young Valley were somewhere to the southeast, buried into row upon row of mountain ranges.
Even our old friend Mount Cook emerged from behind a cloud in the distance. Just two weeks before, we had watched the morning sun light up the eastern face from the summit of Mount Adams.
Alex couldn’t resist walk to the true top, a few feet higher and few hundred feet further along the ridge.
In time, we turned to descend into the final hour of daylight. Bright red Brewster Hut, our home for the night, came back into view far below.
The shadows lengthened, golden snow grass burned brighter with each passing minute, and the last rays of sunlight beamed across the valley and spilled over our shoulders.
One year in, there are still moments that make us pause and appreciate being right here, right now.