I love mountains!

Let me say it again, I love mountains. We rose before the sun and were out of town and winding through the first canyons within a mile. A cruel headwind choose to tease us for a bit but must have sensed our determination and wandered off before it became too bothersome. I asked a passing cyclist if he wanted to trade bikes, he laughed, said no and warned us that the lack of oxygen was going to be our worse enemy. I replied, "not to worry I've been breathing through a straw for the past week, enjoy your 17pound bike."
Before we knew it the canyon walls had closed in around us with sheer faces rising 400+ feet on either side. If I was the claustrophobic type I probably would have enjoyed the ride a lot less. As it was I soon found myself sprinting across stretches of pavement that were severely pitted from falling rocks. The next stage had us ascending through evergreen forests, it was at about this time that I had the epiphany that I love mountains. The smell of the air alone had me pushing harder to get higher. It was a relief to be making steady and tangible progress away from the heat of Nevada. All of a sudden we were climbing seriously steep switch backs and before we could really comprehend it we were being treated to unreal views. A mere 4 hours of climbing had gained us 5000+ feet and brought us to an elevation of 10,400. The meadows around the summit fell away to immense orange canyons, below that evergreen forests stretched back to the desert. The views made the morning unquestionably worth it, although I'm not sure whether Joe "sweet tooth" Ruscito enjoyed this or the free cake at the top more.
After lunching on peanut butter bananas we coasted down through the meadows passing a Native American camp. We discovered that they enjoy their summers at this higher elevation to escape the heat below. By 2:30pm we had arrived at Panguitch Lake and I made my best $2.27 purchase of the trip thus far, (large order of sweet potato fries and a large coffee). We have now set up our tents and I am overjoyed that we will be sleeping at a cozy 8,000 feet. -Lucas


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