Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Labor Day 14 er...

Almost every Labor day, we go on the church campout.  We have been doing it since the kids were little.  We reserve a group camp site, pull in whenever we can and camp.  It is supposed to be organized but when I am the organizer...things run fast and loose.

But not on Sunday morning.  Sunday of Labor day weekend is the day we do a 14 er.  Now let me explain.  A 14er is a mountain peak in Colorado the people like to hike.  There are 54 of these peaks and they are scattered all over the state.  We do one that is close to our campsite every year.

Before we start to hike on that Sunday, my husband and I agonize about which one to do.  We pull out the books and read about them looking for one that is "easy".  I always have to laugh when we pick one and it is rated easy or a level 1...like it is a walk in the park.

If you ask my opinion, there is no such thing as an "easy" 14 er.  The easiest one I have ever done, I got close to the peak and started to cry...told everyone in my path that "I can't do this."  Of course, when I got to the top, you would have never known that I acted out.

The last 14 er we did was a long one.  It had a long winding path to the tree line.  I decided I was having a heart attack about 20 minutes into the hike.  My husband started to talk to me and I bit his head off.  I was hoping that I could turn around.  The tape in my head, for every 14er is the same, "What are you crazy?  Your in no shape to do this.  You are gonna have a heart attack!"  Then I go into the..."Well, if I have a heart attack, if I drop dead than I am gone, that would be better than some of the other options"...and it goes on from there.  The group went ahead of me, like always and I am known as "the weak link."  Finally, I made it to the boulder field.  I decided I was done.  I was just gonna sit and wait for the group to come down.  My youngest had been up to the top and was on his way down.  "Mom, you can do it...the peak is just up there."  I started to cry because he was right but it felt too hard..."No I can't, I'm too tired" and then the other son shows up..."Come on Mom, you can do this...you're gonna be sorry if you stop now."  "NO" I said, "I'm not going."  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my husband...of course he made it up way before me and was on his way down..."Honey, come on, the peak is right there and I know you can do it.  I'll hike back up with you."  What could I say to that?  I bit his head off 4 hours ago and he was right back at my side.  So, I took 5 steps and took a breath.  Then I took 5 more and another breath and after about 20 rounds of that, there it was...the peak!  I stood there for about 5 minutes before we had to get down because a storm was coming in.

Hiking down is no picnic either.  The last 14 er was about 9 miles total...4.5 up and 4.5 down.  I remember thinking we were never going to get down and after about 3 hours, we were in the parking lot.  We piled in trucks and went back to camp.

Typically, when I get back to camp after a 14 er, I head straight to the margaritas and camp chair by the fire.  By the time I am on my second Marg, I can cook dinner.  I generally limp around all night and after I think I have had enough to kill the pain of the hike, I go to bed.  I say goodnight to no one, crawl into my sleeping bag on my blow up matress and pass out...not only from the margaritas but from the hike.

Yesterday, Jim and I were at it again.  We had the Colorado's 14 er book out and were planning the hike.  "Let's do Missouri" I said.  Jim said it seemed like a hard one.  "Yeah, that's right, we need an easy one" I said. 

We decided on Mount Columbia because it's supposedly a level 1 through most of it and a small section of level 2.  It's also 10.5 miles.  Nothing easy about 10.5 mile hike even at sea level...picture the lack of oxygen at 14,000 feet.

So, wish me luck.  If I have the heart attack I am sure I am going to have...thanks for the friendship and love.  And, if I make it to the peak, I will take a picture and post it.  But, you guys at camp...I drink those skinny margaritas, my camp chair is blue and make sure the fire is roaring and I will thank you forever!

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,

1 comment:

Ms. Moon said...

You'll make it! And even if you don't, it's the journey, not the destination.
I love you, Terry.