it was a cool, crisp morning as we set out to summit Humphrey's peak. (who is Humphrey, anyway? I'd like to have a word with him. namely, "ouch".)
we were all full of vim and vigor, eager to get into that forest and begin the upward climb. although I was still wondering why on earth I was about to do this just a mere eight weeks after giving birth, with six of those weeks accounting for "couch" rest. that left me oh, roughly two weeks to get into some sort of shape. talk about difficult when for nine months, my exercise program mainly consisted of walking to the kitchen to get myself a snack. and maybe a hike or two. definitely nothing strenuous. well, ready or not, here I was.
this group shot was taken early on into the hike. notice there are no grimaces as of yet. :) at this point I still felt pretty good, my only complaint being some minor gasping issues breathing difficulty. wheeze.
up we continued. I was so busy concentrating on my foot placement that I would forget to gaze at the gorgeous scenery surrounding me. I didn't want to risk falling and injuring myself, though. I knew that my fellow companions most likely would not jump at the opportunity to carry me to the top, as amiable as they were. friendship only goes so far.
actually, I think these girls must have had some sort of distant relation to the mountain goat. in fact, as they bounded ahead, I thought I might have glimpsed a flash of horns. but that could have been the lack oxygen playing tricks with my mind.
the trees got shorter and scrubbier, the closer we neared the saddle. Briita paused along the trail for a moment to capture the beauty of her surroundings, while I captured my breath. and I was amazed to capture someone truly enjoying this. because, well...
I looked to be on my last leg. what in the tarnation am I doing on this mountain side, anyway? and dude, where's my Harley when I need it? you have to admit I do look rather "biker babe-ish" in a rugged, windblown sort of way. don't lie now.
I glanced at the meadow where we started waaay down below and desperately wished I had a hang glider. (forget the Harley.) it did look like an awfully nice landing strip, I thought. no, I must persevere. I can't let this mountain beat me. I take another gulp of powerade and chew off a hunk of power bar and wait for that burst of power and endless energy to kick in. and wait. and wait some more. it's just not happening. drat. must (huff) keep (puff) going.
by now, my legs were begging me to return to the couch. what are you doing to us? they screamed. my head was aching and a little dizzy from the oxygen deprivation, but yet my mind was determined and continued to coax my legs and head to carry on. come on wimps, you can do this. (do your body parts ever talk to each other?)
we took another short break to fuel up for that last jaunt to the summit. it's the most aggressive part of the hike...lots of rocks to climb up and over. the wind is whipping. we're close to 12,000 ft elevation. (I'm thinking an O2 bar would be great about now.) the air is cold. the jackets and hats come back on in preparation.
and that's when it happened.
to be continued...
PS. if any of you are wondering if we are under any threat of the recent wildfires, don't worry. they are quite a ways away from us on the other side of the mountain range across town. there have been a few homes evacuated due to this new Schultz fire which has now consumed 10,000 acres. they determined it was caused by an abandoned campfire.