We weren’t sure whether it was ok to follow through with our plans to climb Mount Elbert just a few days after 9-11. At 14,433 feet, Elbert is the highest peak in the Rockies and it was a tough day on the Black Cloud Trail both emotionally and physically. We reached the summit after about five hours of ascending and saw the large flag on top. There was another group on the peak at the same time and I recall that we all spoke in hushed voices, celebrating our expression of American freedom quietly. This image always takes me right back to the strange days following 9-11, the surreal coverage of the tragedies, and the lump in my throat on Mount Elbert that day.