From Adirondack sunset to Summit County sunrise: New Summit Daily sports editor acclimates
NORTH ELBA, N.Y. — One thousand six hundred and seventy four miles.
That’s the distance, as the crow flies, between the sunset moment my old hiking buddy Logan and I shared in October at this location, Algonquin Peak, to the sunrise spot my new hiking buddy Caroline and I shared atop Mount Royal a couple weeks later.
From one home to another. Sunset to sunrise. Adirondack Mountains to Rocky Mountains.
My view into the sunset atop Algonquin, New York’s second highest location at 5,114 feet, was effectively my starting point, my final hike in the Adirondacks. It was the equivalent of the “Go” on the gameboard for this westward journey to the end destination: the 10,502-foot summit of Mount Royal, Frisco and Summit County.
It’s an as-the-crow-flies path that begins by traversing the Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. For many, it’s a relatively forgotten swath of wilderness, one deemed “Forever Wild” in the New York state constitution since the park was first created in 1892 — just 16 years after Colorado became a state.
Covering 6 million acres in northern New York, this former home of mine is bigger than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined. And I’m just fortunate to have hiked 21 of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks and 30-or-so other Adirondack mountains in my two years there.
Right now, it’s still home.
And the Adirondacks, with their truly wild majesty, was a hard home to leave. All those miles away from the wilderness of Summit County, those mountains are separated from these mountains by a mixture of the natural beauty and man-made realities that comprise America’s heartland: four Great Lakes, many a Midwest factory and the seemingly endless Great Plains.
As I embark on my second week working and living here in Summit County, with the Summit Daily office located within eyeshot from the summit of Mount Royal, I am much like the thousands of others moving to Colorado these days: eager to discover why this is a beloved home for so many, why it’s worth the chance.
But much like the special people who have long made Summit County what it is — each of them characters with individual stories in their own right — I’m here writing, hiking and (soon) skiing to write the next chapter in my life’s story — both literally and figuratively. And as excited as I am to learn from your community to help tell all of your stories, I am just as excited to share the tales of my time here with you all through this column.
So however big or small the adventures we each choose to embark on this weekend, let’s continue to journey. Whether it be the 1,674-mile flight of a crow across country or a short snowshoe sunrise hike of Mount Royal, let’s continue to gain perspective.
And as for that as-the-crow-flies line of mine from the sunset summit of Algonquin Peak to the sunrise summit of Mount Royal? Well, to quote Neil Young from his 1979 song “Thrasher,” it’s “just another line in the field of time.”
“Just another line in the field of time,” like what it was to look down at a place in the Adirondacks called Avalanche Pass, a stunning valley at the heart of New York’s High Peaks Wilderness carved many moons ago by a receeding glacier.
It was there last June when I had perhaps my most memorable moment in the Adirondacks, the experience of being above the clouds atop one of the Adirondack 46 High Peaks, Mount Colden, as Algonquin Peak and many other mountains appeared as islands in the sky.
As more and more people visit wild locations like the Adirondacks and Rockies with each passing year, the kind of solo moment I had atop Mount Colden was, well, everything.
It was the ultimate sensory experience, whether it be the humbling element of being present psychologically while hiking solo through the Adirondack darkness, to inhaling the cleanest of breaths while hiking through the invisible clouds toward the summit, to seeing the sunrise illuminate my view to the southwest. There above the clouds, with only the intermittent chirps of songbirds to fill out that morning’s soundtrack, the perspective of the undercast clouds blending in from beneath with the hazy horizon line so far away was heaven on earth.
“Just another line in the field of time,” like what it was to catch my first glimpse of the jagged horizon line that was the Rockies on Oct. 28. After stops in Chicago and Omaha, this moment happened somewhere near Fort Morgan while driving with my father southwest on Interstate 76 toward Denver. We were almost there. I was almost here.
And “just another line in the field of time,” like what it was to eye the scree-filled, human-carved trail up toward the summit of Mount Royal. This very first Colorado summit of mine, was 1,384 feet of elevation gain away. It was my first true wild Colorado adventure.
I hope there will be many more to come, and they will be chronicled in this column. And I hope there will be many more to come for all of you too. Feel free to share them with us at the Summit Daily so we can chronicle them here.
Why not? After all, it’s “just another line in the field of time.”
Antonio Olivero is the sports editor of the Summit Daily. Email him at email@example.com.
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