From the Summit to Summit Council

This past Saturday was the latest hike in our hiking club’s winter season.

A little before 8am, we headed out to Evergreen to hike Chief Mountain. This peak is out by Indian Springs where we’ve done a few other hikes, both the summer and winter versions.

During the drive, I was wondering just how much snow we would have on this hike, but once we got to the trailhead, it was obvious that there was going to be quite a bit of snow on the trail.

I was looking forward to this hike for many reasons, but one of the main ones was the fact that I was going to test out the new boots that I had received earlier in the week.

At work, we have a rewards program, so I cashed in some points to receive enough REI gift cards that not only was I able to purchase new boots, but also two new pairs of socks, and some anti-chafe stuff that I’ll use for running.

Plus I was able to showoff the enhancements that I made to my backpack. This is actually the second attempt at adding this patch – the first time it didn’t stick very well and peeled right off.

It was a tad on the messy side because of the amount of glue I used; the glue also slipped around quite a bit when I put pressure onto the patch to make sure it stayed in the right place and wouldn’t peel off this time.

Our group started off with 7 hikers and one puppy dog, but the puppy dog and two hikers had to turn back about 10 minutes into the hike because of how cold it was for Pearl (the puppy dog.)

While below the tree line, the hike was pretty nice in the sense that it wasn’t too cold or windy, but once we got above tree line, THE WIND. We estimate that the wind gusts were between 35-40mph and sometimes it literally felt like you were going to get blow off the mountain.

Even though it was cold and windy – the views were spectacular. Since I’m directionally challenged in Colorado still, I don’t even know which direction I was looking.

Off in the distance, the clouds were moving at quite the pace which proved just how windy it was up on the top.

I was finally able to take advantage of a piece of gear that I bought years ago, but never used it hiking before – my balaclava. I’ve also been told that this is a perfect selfie.

If you look closely, you can see all of the frozen condensation.

The Summit of Chief Mountain is at about 11,800′ (the trailhead is at 10,800′ and there’s an approximate 1,000′ climb.)

Do we look cold? We were cold.

Trust me when I say it was cold and windy. Even saying that, this might be my most favorite hike so far. The views were just so rewarding, plus I felt good on the hike. The cold air at elevation did make it a little hard to breathe at times, but it wasn’t too bad.

On the way back down, I commented that some of these trees look like Bristlecone Pines – and apparently they are. I’m only familiar with the Great Basin Bristlecone, but there are two other species – Foxtail Pine, and the most numerous, the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone.

Afterwards, we all helped another hiker get his car unstuck from the snow. Tow straps, shovels, and traction mats – OH MY!

As per tradition, drinks and food were had. I ate chicken fried pickles and they were DELICIOUS!

Summit Council

It seems odd to save this to the end, but it fit my post title better this way, plus it happened in this date order. Both ridiculous reasons, but I’m going with it.

Described as the best of the best of the best, Summit Council is a “prestigious award that recognizes (the) company’s top performers of the year.”

The most common recipients of this award are on the sales side. Sell the most widgets, get the award. But Operations employees are also eligible for this award. And that’s where I come in at.

Summit Council winners “are the people who have consistently gone out of their way to deliver the kind of exemplary service, outstanding solutions, and amazing experiences that help turn our members into raving fans and make (us) the best place we have ever worked.”

And I’m one of those winners!

And this seems to be quite the big deal. Even my boss’s boss wanted me to make sure I understood exactly how big of a deal this is, and not because I wouldn’t appreciate it, but how hard it is to win, especially on the Operations side.

It took awhile to sink in, but every day someone new tells me congratulations, it’s starting to become real. I’m not the greatest at accepting praise – it’s difficult for me at times because I’m the hardest on myself and my own worst critic.

So much for flying under the radar I guess . . .

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