I thought I’d give you all a break from my projects and recipes and share a funny story.
I love to hike. Like, really love it. Like…if I could spend my days DIY’ing, cooking, exploring new places, running, traveling, camping, eating, boating, trying new things, bungee jumping or parachuting, learning, and hiking…that’s what I’d do (how do I get paid to do that every day?). OK, I realize that that’s a long list….but hiking is definitely in my top…20? Anyway, you get the point.
After graduation, my best friend Emily and I took off to hide in the Rockies for some ten days. We rented a condo in Silverthorne and spent our days de-compressing, hiking, drinking lots of coffee, exploring, 4-wheeling, watching movies (it rained every day we were there!) cooking, running (we got to run the BolderBoulder–the largest 10K race in the U.S.!)….pretty much all of my top favorite things to do. It was awesome. Our condo was almost to the top of the mountain (minus 1,500 feet or so), so we would do things like run down and then hike/walk back up. This was the view from our balcony:
And this was the view from the grocery store parking lot. Can I live here?
We also went white water rafting. Did I mention is was May, raining and EXTREMELY cold????
After we finished the BolderBoulder. We crossed the finish line behind us after making a lap around the stadium…we felt like Olympians! Us and the other 54,000 runners that participated that year. And the Olympians DID run through that finish line about an hour later. The Ethiopians won. 🙂
Where we went around “road closed” signs…(what? they shouldn’t leave so much space around the sides of the gates…)
And then found the reason why the road was closed…
This is God’s country.
OK, so now that you have a pretty good sense of how our trip went, allow me to my share my story. Remember how I told you our condo was on the side of the mountain? Well, we were staying on Buffalo Mountain (on the left). We were around 1,500 feet from the top (like I said), so we figured, hey, why not climb to the summit? It’s not very far…
So, the stupi–err….adventurous girls that we were, set out for the top with nothing but light jackets, running shoes, a couple of sandwiches and bottles of water. See how we are smiling? That’s because we haven’t started yet.
Unfortunately, after only about 100 feet of trail, we realized that from that point on, the snow was going to be a challenge rather than a blessing. This is our trail. What? You say you can’t see it? Oh…that’s because it’s UNDER the three feet of snow.
Normal, unprepared people decide to turn around at this point. No heavy clothing, gloves, snowshoes (or even hiking boots!), no hike, right? Not for these girls.
We’ve always liked a good challenge. Emily quickly rose to the challenge when we realized we would quickly lose our trail (umm…we’d already lost it!) if we didn’t leave markers.
She proceeded to lodge the below log straight up into the snow as a marker. Go big or go home, I guess. 🙂
So now we have a “system”…she’s creating “markers” and I’m documenting them with my camera “just in case they start to look the same…” Stupid, stupid, stupid…
Three HOURS later, we’d long ago lost any semblance of a trail. We’d broken through the glassy ice on top of streams (not realizing they were streams), scaled rocks and begun our ascent to the summit…and this is how close I got (yes, it so steep I was beginning to channel my inner Spiderwomen skills just to not feel like I was going to fall backward off of the mountain)…
…and then I turned around to look at Emily and this is what I saw…
See that little gray and navy spot? That’s Emily, cursing my very existence. You see, she’d suggested we turn around about an hour before (when the mountain turned into a vertical snow wall) as we didn’t have any gear to climb said wall of snow. I pressed on, goal in mind and sacrificed any and all feeling in my limbs. Do you see that squiggly line at the top of the picture? That’s our condo. Ummmm….that’s a lot of forest and snow between us and the warm showers!!!
Since I wasn’t really sure how to get down (it’s a lot easier to vertically climb than go back down…more on that later), I lodged my rear end into the snow to create a place to sit while I waited for Em to catch up to me.
This is Emily. She is no longer talking to me. We are also no longer friends. Luckily for me, she had a no-talking-while-angry policy. (As you can see, she was literally biting her lip.) It probably saved our friendship. Thanks, Emmy. She looks really happy, no?
(Also, you should note that this picture was taken at an angle…she is hunched over really far. So, if you want to see how steep this part of the mountain was, turn your head to the left until her legs look horizontal…)
So this descent I just alluded to…we were very technical about it. We slid. Down. On our butts. Until the tree line…where I was halted to a complete stop by straddling a tree trunk. Lucky for me, I am a girl and this means I can still have children after such a landing.
To make a VERY long story short, we completely lost any sense of direction while sliding down and just tried to walk in the direction of the condo. This didn’t work. Another few hours, no trails, 5-foot snow drifts and a marsh later, we emerged on the other side of the mountain.
No longer smiling, we were angry at the mountain.
Fortunately, the walk around the mountain and back to the condo was on roads and we found a shortcut through a neighborhood. We were no longer talking and no longer enjoying hiking. The room we were sleeping in had a mirror that framed a reflection of the summit from the bed…needless to say, we did not sleep well that night. Nor did we enjoy looking at it as we left to go home the next morning.
Buffalo Mountain, I will never attempt your vertical snow walls again.
At least not until a warmer season with proper gear.