2018 Family Moto

35 They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; Mosiah 21:35

"Make sure they remember joy yesterday, experience joy today, and anticipate joy tomorrow."

Motherhood Mission Statement

To provide a loving environment that is centered around God and His commandments while effectively teaching my children to love, honor, and respect all Men no matter the race, creed, or background.

Click on Nolen's name to hear our amazing journey through autism.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

As I Climb

Monday, I hiked the La Luz trail in the Sandia mountains with my friend, Andrea.  We tried hiking the La Luz trail a few weeks ago; however, we ran out of time.  We didn't anticipate the difficulty of the climb, nor did we anticipate the snow.  After reaching the snow, last time, we turned around and hiked back down.  We rescheduled our hiking date for February 27th.  
I woke up really early, got dressed, packed, and hit the road.  I arrived at Andrea's house right around 8 AM.  We started our hike at 8:10 AM.  I was very optimistic about the hike.  We started off making great time.  We hit the snow just after 10 AM. 
Andrea had purchased strap on snow spikes at Costco for each of us, so we strapped them on and kept hiking.  After a few snowy switch backs, we ran into a fellow hiker.  He told us that during the winter, most hikers take the ravine during the winter.  We decided to stick close behind him as he hiked up the ravine.  It was much more difficult to hike in the snow up the ravine.  The hiker was extremely fast!  We could not keep up with his pace.  He also had on deeper snow spikes and poles.  We stopped for just a minute and the hiker was gone.  
We decided it would be safer for us to stay on the switch backs because the ravine was not a well marked trail.  We only had the hiker's tracks to follow and that didn't seem safe.  I was leading the way as we hiked up the last two miles in the snow.  There were many times that I had to use my hands to balance as we walked across snow patches near the edge of cliffs.  I, unwisely, brought cotton gloves that didn't cover my finder tips.  I was not expecting to ever be putting my hands in the snow! 
We reached a funny spot in the trail that appeared to go straight up.  After a lengthy discussion, we decided to go up the trail.  I started climbing on my hands and knees.  Immediately, I slid down the hill.  Andrea braced my feet as we tried to find a different way to get up the steep, snowy cliff.  We climbed basically on our hands an knees for the last part of the hike.  When we reached the top I saw a sign that said, "No horses on the stairs" and I felt like crying.  We had just climbed up where stairs were buried under a few feet of snow.  It was so exhilarating to climb 3,500 feet and 6 miles up the Sandia's.  

Once we reached the top it suddenly sunk in that we had to climb back down.  I said a silent prayer as my mind started wondering back to the snowy cliff sides of the trail that was impassable.  Andrea and I soaked in the top of the mountain before starting our decent.  We slid down on our butts to reach the steepest part of the trail.  We both stood up and laughed a bit about how we should have brought a sled to get down the mountain.  Andrea took one step and instantly slipped.  She fell right on her back.  It looked so painful.  We decided to sit down for a bit.  My hands were freezing from climbing in the snow.  I stuck them in my arm pits, but honestly, I could not feel my thumbs.  Actually, Andrea had to zip me into my jacket and help me open my protein bar.  Ha!  

After a quick rest, Andrea led the way through the snow.  As we hiked, I started looking around more than I did on the way up.  As I led the way up, I was so focused on reaching the top, that I didn't look around to see just how scary the trail had become.  Andrea started making her way across and extremely steep, slick part of the trail and my mind freaked out! I looked down the side of the cliff and realized the danger of the trail.  By this time it was just passed noon and the sun had come out.  The snow was ice.  Each step was slick.  Our snow spikes were not long enough to grip the slick ice.  Andrea and I made it across one cliff and just around the bend was another cliff.  I had told myself that I had to make it across the last one because there was no other way down.  We couldn't go back up because of the difficulty of the last part of the climb.  My hands were completely numb. I yelled out to Andrea, "Was this the way we came?"  She said, "Yes." I couldn't remember seeing this cliffs when we were hiking up. 
I screamed out to Andrea, "I'm not going to make it!"  She stopped and looked back.  My heart was racing and my legs were shaking.  I looked down and could see myself slipping.  There was nothing to grip.  Just snow and ice.  Andrea said, "Should we go back?" I laughed a bit and said, "I am not going back across that last cliff!"  She laughed.  
I just took it one slippery foot at a time.  I slammed my arms deep into the snow to find anything I could use to bolt myself to the side of the mountain.  I told Andrea to keep going.  I was worried that if she stopped she would slip.  We slowly made our way through the snow on hands and tip toes.  I can not remember a time in my life having that much fear inside.  I have done some incredible things including sky diving and this was much more thrilling.  
During my mental freak out, I remembered my prayer and that I felt that we would make it down the mountain safely.  This was the one assurance I clung too (and of course the slipper snow).

After two hours in the snow, my hands were chilled to the bone.  We made it through the snow and back to the dirt and rocks.  The last 5 miles of the hike were slow and steady.  We talked and talked as we hiked.  When we finally reached the bottom of the trail we cheered!  There was a couple sitting on their tailgate and they cheered with us.  We reached the bottom of the trail just after 3:00.  It was exhilarating to reach our goal of hiking La Luz trail.

We learned why most hikers take the ravine during the winter months.  It is just too dangerous to take the switch backs when snow is present.  
We also decided that the next time we will hike La Luz trail will be during the summer or autumn months. HA! If I ever, (which I won't) hike La Luz during the winter, I will bring water proof gloves and bigger snow spikes.  I will wear snow gear and be way more prepared. 
I am so grateful to have an adventurous friend who was willing to spend 6 hours and 44 minutes hiking 12 miles up and down the mountains by our house.  She is so intelligent, kind, giving, and fun to talk with while hiking.  There was never a dull moment.  Also, she really did save my life!  I know she wouldn't have left me on the side of the mountain.  She was much more prepared than me. 
I took only a few pictures because I couldn't move my thumbs to get my phone out of my back pack. Actually, as we reached the bottom of the trail I realized my hands were completely swollen!  I took Nolen to soccer practice right after my hike and had my hands in my arm pits the whole time!  No need to worry, they are working just fine now.  
The beauty of the mountain was a spectacular site to see as we hiked up and down the mountain.  New Mexico has a lot to offer with beautiful dessert sites, rocky cliffs, and pine trees less than 30 minutes from my home. 

1 comment:

Andrea Landaker said...

Thanks so much for having this experience with me! I enjoyed reading about it from your perspective. I don't think I felt quite as endangered, but maybe I should have...? :-D