My Autumn’s Harvest post is here.
As part of the festivities to celebrate the release of her book Wilde’s Meadow, Krystal Wade is hosting a Wildest Moments blogfest. Participants will post about wild, life-changing, inspirational, heart-pounding moments they experienced. Anyone who posts between now and the 23rd can win a Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire Skins, or a $15 Amazon gift card.
In July of 2001, I was in Colorado for my maternal grandparents’ 50th anniversary party. (Their real anniversary is in September, but the family reunion was scheduled for a time it was more convenient for everyone to come out there.) That place was chosen because it’s where my surviving uncle and his family live. I must say, he picked a beautiful state to make his adopted home.
We were staying at the famous Bald Pate Inn in Estes Park, and one of our hikes was going to be up the nearby Twin Sisters Peaks. But on our way towards the climb, I had to go back to the inn because my shorts were too tight. I had to change into a new size 14 pair my mother had bought me in the aftermath of my college weight gain. At the time (I was 21), this was humiliating, but now I don’t care if I wear something that’s a size 14 on the high end or a size 8 on my lowest end. It’s not the size, it’s how healthy and active you are.
By the time I got back to the trail, the others had already started climbing. There was a fork in the road, and I picked the road I thought they’d gone on. The East Twin Sisters Peak is 11,428 feet high, and the West Twin Sisters Peak is 11,413 feet. All the way up the peak, I never ran into any of my relatives, and when I reached the summit, they weren’t there.
I began thinking they might be on the other peak and that I’d taken the wrong turn, but I couldn’t see anyone across the way. Then when I was standing on top of a hill on the mountain, I tripped and fell down, cutting my knee open somewhat badly. I think it was my left knee.
I had no other choice but to get off that mountain the exact way I’d come up. And keep in mind the sun is beating down very strongly. I had to walk all 11,400+ feet down with blood coming out of my knee and my leg feeling stiff and hurting. At least this was when I still had two fully-functioning legs, before my accident and the resulting 4 leg surgeries and metal hardware in my right leg. When I finally found some relatives again on a veranda at the inn, they thought I’d skipped the hike, but I told them, no, I climbed the wrong Sister and cut my knee open.
A few days later, we were on another hike/climb, and my uncle was very impressed with me for fully participating. He couldn’t believe I’d be up to more climbing and hiking after I’d just gotten injured. I love hiking and climbing, and wouldn’t dream of sitting out this uncommon chance to take on some real mountains in Colorado. We don’t go out there to visit him very often, and I wanted to take full advantage of the outdoors activities.
Somewhat off-topic but related to the story: On our way home to Massachusetts, our connecting flight was a small aircraft that flew low over NYC so we could have a good look at the Manhattan skyline, including the World Trade Center. Two months later, that skyline was gone.