Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Madrugador Dawn Patrol

My favorite word in Spanish is madrugador, meaning "early riser".

A 4:30(am) wake-up call had me looking down at snowshoes attached to my feet by half six. Still dark, I felt fully awake thanks in large part to the cut of cold air covering the base of Mt. Spokane. A sweet silence hovered over my senses as I looked out across the white sheet of winter. Being surrounded by that awesome silence on top of a snow swept mountain creates a quietness I only wish would stick with me long after the experience expires.
The collective movement of snowshoes and skins commenced an ascent towards the summit, their strong grip on the frozen floor created a crisp rhythmic crunch with every step. I pushed forward, following behind what is known as the "Dawn Patrol". A quick glance over my shoulder leaves little wonder why this diehard group claims such a title. I stopped for a moment and admired the day's first sunlight sweeping over the mountains, rolling low into the valley, rich colors scattering across the horizon like a paint swatch.
Looking down on Spokane, I realized the view from the summit was far sweeter than a few more hours of sleep.

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