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Monday, January 31, 2011

You Did What?!

me on top the world
Archer, the trail leader

Here is the top. Do you see Art Dog in the tree shelter?

Art Dog and The Girls Hiking Upward

Elasta Woman and I by "Avalanche Area"
Even I questioned my own sanity when I agreed to snow shoe up Mount Steele with my friend, Elasta Woman, and then snowboard down it.
It was something we'd wanted to do together for a long time, but when it really came down to it, I had no idea if it was something I was even capable of. Much less, when she called that morning to tell me her thermometer was registering -18 BELOW ZERO! By now Archer and Art Dog had joined in on the adventure and were about ready for departure. With a stiff upper lip, I told her I'd meet her at my mail box at 8:30am. I had gotten up with a lot of fears and doubts, but that's when I sat down and turned to the verse that said "cast not away your confidence, for it holds great recompense of reward". Then I knew that I needed to go with an attitude that said "I CAN".
Hiking up wasn't as bad as I thought, but that was only the first 10 feet up the trail and I had stopped about 5 times to fix my snow shoes.
I felt haphazardly dressed. I don't have all that fancy gear that the pros have. Instead of high tech light weight long underwear, I was wearing my black polyester pajamas. Over that was my $2 heavy, rummage sale sweat shirt. Instead of extra warm light weight boots, I was wearing my hiking shoes with 2 pairs of socks. I just didn't know if I could fit boots and snow snow shoes in my backpack on the way down. Instead of a high tech coat, I was wearing a clearance $30 down one I found many years ago. My glasses fogged up and crystallized so I had to make the entire trek with my naked eyes, which was a bit unnerving. I could go on, but you get the picture. This was no professional group here. Just some people who wanted to see if they could do it.

The first 1/3 of the journey was not too eventful. Elasta Woman fell down a few times, as she was wearing my husbands big snow shoes. The boys waited for us often. A couple of times a big spring area caused a 2-3 foot drop to gravel in the trail. Otherwise, we trudged on......
When we got to the "avalanche area" I was really feeling like a pro. I hammed it up for a few pics, though I was feeling pretty sore and glad it was almost over. I thought I remembered the open area as "almost there".
Suddenly it started getting really really steep and it was hard to keep going up. Just to make one step, I had to plunge my snowboard into the powder and pull myself forward. It was painstaking at the least. I kept telling myself that it wasn't much further. Before long, I had to begin telling my legs to move, purposefully willing one in front of the other. I was glad, though, because I hadn't been able to feel my big toe for a long time, and it finally seemed to be loosening up.
I was wet with sweat from head to toe despite the subzero temps. Long ago my coat had been tied to my back pack. I just couldn't stomach the idea of getting up that far and not going to the top. I tried to remember the sermon I'd heard about "attitude" on Sunday. I also had to remind myself that Archer is the fittest 19 year old I know. Art Dog, tough as nails, all muscle and no fat, can keep up with any man. Elasta Woman is probably 15 years younger. She has one of those tall, lean frames that was meant for athletics. Then there's me. I guess I have to give myself some credit here :-) I'll get up there. It just will take me longer, no big deal.

Once we reached the top, I thought it would be all hamming it up for photos and lunch and gloating. Once we reached the top, a bitter cold wind ripped through us like no tomorrow.
We tried to get our food out, but when we took off our gloves, our fingers instantly hurt and numbed. Soon the sweat on my body froze into a glaze (or so it felt). I dove into a hole surrounding the only tree and tried to eat a few more bites in there. Elasta Woman couldn't feel her toes. She got worried and said she was getting out of there as fast as she could. We climbed out of the hole and tried to change shoes. Elasta woman put her cross country ski shoes on. It was around then she told me she'd never down hill skied (or snow boarded) a day in her life. I knew she was tough though. I had a hard time getting my boots changed over with all the lacing, but donning a snowboard felt good to me.

I plunged down the mountain screaming wildly. Elasta Woman sat on her skis flying down in a ball like a banshee.....It was like one of those cartoons where you see a big snowball with arms and poles sticking out. The powder seemed to surround her so you couldn't see all of her. It occurred to me that packing cross country skis up a mountain was probably not a good idea.
I, on the other hand, suddenly felt like I was really alive. On the heel edge of my board, I navigated the mountain feeling like I owned it. "Carve!" my son yelled. I wasn't sure about carving in powder, but I figured I'd try....... Next thing I knew I was buried in powder. When I tried getting up, I remembered how hard it is to squirm out of powder wearing a board and loaded pack. I was REALLY GLAD for my new goal of 365 days of sit ups. I think it helped allot.
Elasta woman wanted to stick to the trail, but Archer insisted I take another steep plunge. I worried about her, but he assured me we'd be able to see her. Again that Euphoria took over as I flew....... After that, we all stuck together and made our way down the rest of the mountain. It was hard. We were tired, but the incredible feeling never left us.......
After a quick visit at Mist and Firey's place, we headed home to my beckoning Hot Tub. I sat in there with a grapefruit and recounted an embellished version to my husband.


Anonymous said...

Wow! You are amazing! So adventureous, I'm completely the opposite, completely! Glad you lived to tell!!!

toytrkman said...

Ya, I think it took as long for you to tell me about it as it took for you to hike it! ;-}

Mama Hen said...

well, you are my athletic hero now. Cause I would have fallen over the first ten feet down (and that is if I had even made it up there!)

Amber said...

Sounds like a great adventure! Glad you made it and had fun. Glad you stayed warm enough and didn't loose any limbs. -18 brrrrr
I'm a bit jealous as I sit here looking out back of my house and see lots of dirt and field. I have the great Rocky Mountains to the west of me across town but not close enough.
Enjoy the mountains a bit for me!

Dee said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Please feel welcome to stop by anytime. You have an amazingly wonderful life and a lovely family. :) Dee

Mama Bear... .. . said...

Brave woman you are. Sounds like quite an adventure. What I would do for some of that cold weather.