A Medicine Bow Peak Ritual

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Medicine Bow Peak rises to 12,013 feet in southern Wyoming. Photo by Richard F. Fleck

Medicine Bow Peak rises to 12,013 feet in southern Wyoming. Photo by Richard F. Fleck

Each Labor Day for ten years straight

my family and I would climb to the sky

from Lewis Lake following a winding

trail through patches of willows hiding

gurgling streams with clear and icy water

feeding roots of marsh marigolds and

patches of bright and shining glacier lilies.

We’d squeeze past narrow walls of rock

glistening with flecks of mica and quartzite

until we arrived at a stony plateau high

above the gleaming Snowy Range lakes

with Medicine Bow Peak rising way above.

The Fleck family on the peak in 1970

The Fleck family on the peak in 1970

Then we traversed back and forth on many

switchbacks below the snow and stood to

gaze at the lower Sugar Loaf across the valley.

Here and there marmots and pikas scurried

with high pitched squeaks in-between the rocks.

blocking our path lay a steep-pitched snowfield,

and out came our indispensable walking sticks

to steady us at a slant just below the peak.

Up through a rocky crevice, we at last stood on

a ridge of wobbly boulders leading ever upward

to granitic Medicine Bow Peak itself with a view

for miles in any direction that rosy finches flew.