Overcoming Mount Redcloud
"Rise and shine!" shouted Joanna as she pulled the curtains back. "What the hell time is it?" Jordan's thought process wasn't so great at this hour. She rolled over and pulled a pillow over her head. "5:30!" exclaimed Joanna, and yanked the pillow out of Jordan's arms. "You mean they have one of those in the morning too?" Jordan moaned. Joanna giggled. "Come on sleepyhead! You can take a shower first so you can wake yourself up. You'll need it." She looked around the room for a few seconds. "Here. You'll need these too." She said as she tossed Jordan's hiking boots over to her side of the hotel room. Joy, Jordan thought. Another fun-filled day of hiking up that hideous trail with the icky tarantulas and huge scorpions as well as other crawly creatures. She was a city girl, and her and The Great Outdoors didn't get along very well.
They just couldn't see eye to eye. Jordan was a girly girl, and wasn't a fan of hiking adventures and creatures and getting dirty. Joanna, on the other hand, was very competitive, and very athletic. She was the cutest little half Korean girl, with adorable chubby cheeks, but nothing could stand in her way. She loved doing outdoorsy-type stuff with her dad. The only thing they had in common was that they were both 15, and they both played the trombone in the high school band together. But they had been best friends since Joanna had moved to Jordan's high school at the beginning of the past school year. And this year, on her family's summer vacation to Colorado, she had invited Jordan to come along with her and her dad and her sweet little Korean mom. Oh yeah. The authentic Korean food. That was a big enough adventure for Jordan in itself. Much different than any other Asian food she had ever experienced. But apparently it wasn't enough for Joanna. "Me and you and dad are gonna hike a 14er." Joanna said. "Huh?" "Mt. Recloud. We're gonna hike it. It's over 14,000 feet high. 14,037, to be exact." Jordan stared at Joanna. She couldn't be serious. Didn't she know how inexperienced Jordan was at this whole hiking thing? She'd had enough trouble hiking up that mini-mountain behind the hotel. And it was a high one. "Really...?" was all Jordan could squeak out. "Yeah! It's gonna be so great! I can't wait to get up to the summit and breathe the fresh mountain air!! Now go shower so we can go!!" Assuming there was no argument, Jordan grabbed some clothes and headed toward the shower. She was enjoying the trip, and was very grateful that Joanna and her family had invited her. But she just wasn't enjoying the outdoor-type thing. She kind of wished Joanna had taken into consideration that she was barely even a beginner as far as the whole hiking thing went. But she didn't wanna say anything, because she didn't want to offend her best friend, especially after she had invited her to go on this trip.
After the girls got ready, they went next door to Joanna's parents room and knocked on the door. They were greeted by Joanna's mother's smiling face and "Good morning girls" in her broken English. Her dad was sitting on the bed eating a donut and watching the weather. "It's gonna be a good day for hiking! The high is only 70 and its supposed to be sunny all day. Are y'all ready?" Joanna nodded eagerly, and Jordan just looked at her. "Alright, let's hit the road!!" "Bye-bye! Have fun and be careful!" Joanna's mother said. "We will!" Joanna said over her shoulder as they walked out the door.
About 30 minutes later, they were at the foot of Jordan's enemy. Mount Redcloud, in all its glory, towered high above their heads. Jordan was more intimidated than she had ever been in her whole life. In a few hours, the three of them would be standing exactly 14,037 feet higher than they were at the moment, on the summit. "Okay, if we want to reach the summit by noon, we had better start now." Joanna's dad said. So the three of them picked up their backpacks, threw them over their shoulders and basically just dug in. For Jordan, this was terribly overwhelming. But she began to realize that in the end, she would probably be glad that she did this. She picked up a tall, thick stick and used it to help pull her up as she hiked the trail that led to the summit. Joanna's dad was just a few feet ahead of her, occasionally checking to see if Jordan was okay, and stopping to wait on her. "Geez, Joanna is a mountain goat!" Jordan exclaimed as she watched Joanna effortlessly float up the mountain, not once looking back. "Yeah, she loves this type of thing. She loves coming to Colorado and hiking and mountain biking and rock climbing and propelling and all sorts of stuff. For her this is taking it easy. She figured it would be fairly easy for you but still be something fun for her." "How sweet." Jordan said, partly under her breath.
After what seemed like forever, the trio reached the halfway point. So they decided to take a rest and have a piece of fruit and some water. They took a seat under some shade and relaxed for awhile. "How are you holding up, kiddo?" Joanna asked Jordan as she swigged a huge gulp of water. "Pretty good, i guess. Better than i thought i would for sure. You make me sick, you know that?" She splashed some water on Joanna. "Heeyy!! I'm sorry im so GOOD at this!!" Joanna squealed, and splashed some water back at Jordan. "You're doing alot better, sport." Joanna's dad said to her. "Seems like you've gotten alot faster since last year." "Yeah, i guess staying in cross country and cheerleading has something to do with it. I tried to stay in shape this year." After about half an hour, they decided to finish the ascend toward the summit. Almost there, Jordan thought.
The rest of the hike was grueling, to say the least. Jordan got more and more exhausted, Joanna's dad had to stop alot more often, and even Joanna had begun to slow down a great deal. The air had gotten thinner the higher they got, and it had gotten cooler as well. Not to mention they had been hiking up this very steep mountain since about 6:45 that morning, with only a 30 minute break. And the higher they got, the more tired they all became. Eventually they were all very close together, going at a much slower pace than they had started off at. Finally, Joanna's dad perked up. "Look, we have 10 feet to the summit!" Lovely! They sped up slightly, hoping to reach the top very soon. After about 10 minutes, they made it. The view was breathtaking. Jordan could hardly believe her eyes. She had never seen anything like it. Her jaw dropped and the whole thing was just exhilarating. "Are you glad you came Jordan?" Joanna asked. "Yes. WOW." was all Jordan could mutter. She was just so impressed with what she saw. She couldn't believe that she didn't want to do this. She couldn't believe that God had made what she saw in only a few days, and she was too stubborn to want to enjoy it earlier this morning. "That's Sunshine Peak, and the connecting ridge. Over there is Handies Peak. And that's Cinnamon Pass Road beside it." Joanna's dad was pointing stuff out. The three of them stayed at the summit for about 20 more minutes, looking around and admiring the view. Jordan just took everything in. She was so glad that she took the opportunity to do this. Now she could say that she too, had hiked a 14er. "Alright guys, time to head back. We need to go to the hotel and get some rest so we can get up early and go white water rafting tomorrow." Jordan and Joanna looked at each other. Joanna grinned from ear to ear. "Race you to the bottom!!"