Being on the top of the world is a idea that many people dream of but very few can make a realization. To be able to see the world around you from a vantage point that so few ever see it from. Its a dream that I made into a reality on August 25, 2016.

For those of you who don't know, a 14er is a mountain in which the summit is above 14,000 ft in elevation. Colorado alone has 58 peaks that rise above 14,000 ft according to the Colorado Geological Survey. However, according to www.colorado.com, there has been much debate over the number of 14ers and what the qualifications for a 14er are. There are a few peaks that many wouldn't consider 14ers because the peak is not 300 ft above the saddle.

I have attempted to summit a 14er twice before both were on the mountain, Quandary Peak and during the winter. There is an event by the name of Winter Welcome, in which hikers from all around Colorado come together to bring in winter with a hike up Quandary Peak. My first attempt was in October 2013, I was brand new to the scene and wasn't quite ready for what I was getting myself into. I hiked slowly, but I hiked it all the way up to around 13,500 ft before I started showing signs of altitude sickness. This was the moment that I decided to turn around. My second attempts was also during Winter Welcome on Halloween 2015. This time I didn't get so far, even though I was much more prepared and determined. Not far below the tree line, my hip popped out of place, something that happens semi-regularly, but still hurts. However, I was so determined that I continued my way up the mountain. It wasn't for long though, just above the tree line I was screaming in pain with every step and my boyfriend, Josh, had to force me to turn around.

This time was different...

We awoke at 3:30 in the morning and were on the road by 4 towards Gray's Peak and Torrey's Peak. These mountains share a saddle and are a part of the Front Range. They are considered easier peaks even though no mountain is easy. Our goal was to get there early enough to climb Grey's Peak first and then across the saddle to Torrey's Peak before the incoming storms hit. Unfortunately, I am a slow hiker and what takes so many people 4-5 hours round trip, took me that long to summit just Gray's Peak. It was quite the adventure, we were expecting summer conditions so we were in tennis shoes with no waterproof pants but about half way up we hit snow and decided to keep going. It was a rough time getting through the slippery snow to the summit, but the closer it got the more energy I seamed to muster.

The last ten feet or so were emotional, each step brought me closer to a goal I thought I would never reach. The moment I stood up at the summit, tears began to well up in my eyes. It was not only an amazing view, but I had finally made it. Then I made the mistake of turning towards Josh and he spoke the words "You are that much closer to your dad. Imagine if he could see you right now."

We met a lovely lady, Judy, at the summit. She had hiked all the way up on her own and asked if she could join us on the way down. Of course we said yes, and the impending storm clouds gave us even more of a reason to join forces. Judy was such an amazing woman and greatly inspires me to continue hiking 14ers. She was also very helpful. Because we didn't come prepared I was slipping all over the place on the way down and Judy offered me a pair of gloves and one of her trekking poles. I couldn't say thank you enough! The trekking pole gave me such stabilization and confidence while heading down the slippery slope and helped me get safely to the bottom of the mountain. I very much enjoyed talking to her on the way down a swapping stories. I definitely felt like I had made a new friend.

If I learned anything from this trip up to the top of the world, it is to never give up on your dreams. I had so many reasons to quit, but I found so many more reasons to keep going. I found a new passion and a new way to see and photograph the world. I feel so blessed to have the ability and opportunity to hike to the summit and make these memories.