First Four teenier
Spending a week in Breckenridge, Colorado this summer(with my parents and brothers family) we were faced with many mountains and the challenge to conquer. Hanging out at 9,500 altitude at our vacation home took our bodies part of the week to get acclimated. We were quick to get winded. Tired. By Thursday we were ready to face the challenge of our first four teenier. There are over 50 mountains in Colorado that are greater then fourteen thousand height. We decided that the mountain would be Mount Quandary. It is the 13th easiest in Colorado and close to our home where we were staying. Though, the sign at the head of the trail warned us that “NO four teenier is EASY”. TREMBLE.
Our group consisted of all six of us Boyd’s, my brother Nick and two of his boys. I was the only female. I can’t let these guys have all the fun, without me. The mountain meadow flowers were so refreshing and delightful. The mountain goats so agile and enjoyable as we were able to get within 3 feet of them. The older boys and Nick hiked quickly ahead. Meanwhile Darron kept the young boys motivated counting 100 steps at a time. It really worked. Boy psychology. My psychology was talking with all the people who were already on there way back down from the summit. 99% of the people were so encouraging. Saying that the view was so worth it. That it was: “fantastic”, “incredible”, “windy but great”, “keep going, you can make it”, “no regrets”. There were many families. Even one man who was so vibrant and 78 years old. He chatted to me (with more energy then 10 cups of coffee would give)about how he runs marathons, climbs four teenier mountains often, and intends when he is 90 to start playing golf. Yes, PEOPLE inspire me.
When we reached the saddle to the summit, Darron took off to the top and to catch up with all the rest of our group. We did fine for about 30 minutes, but then my 11 and 9 year old charges began to wilt. Mommy didn’t have the motivational power of Daddy. And Daddy had their water bottles on his back. This truly was the most challenging part of the climb. Up. Up. UP. Picking your way up through broken up rocks. We were only 10 minutes from the top when Nathaniel stopped. It wasn’t just the usual ‘let me have a little rest’. This was lock down, hunker down, “I’m not moving.” “I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, I’m tired. I’m cold. I’m done.” 10 minutes from the top. I coaxed and gave my water. I reasoned. I prodded. Nothing.
10 minutes from the top Nathaniel is the small red image, hunkered down behind a rock, mid picture.
Jacob resting and trying to stay warm, 10 minutes from the top. Moments later he found his own will power and climbed to the summit.
2 male hikers picked their way up toward us. They stopped to ask if Nathaniel was alright. I told them he was just hungry and discouraged. They handed him an energy bar. I love the American people for their generosity. Through tears and a snotty nose, Nathaniel began to chew in those much needed calories. Then Daddy appeared over the top of the summit, waving us to the top. I gestured that I needed his help. There was no way, MR 9 was going anywhere without DADDY POWER. Darron was quickly to the rescue and somehow between energy bar, water, and male understanding Nathaniel reached the summit.
What a goal reached. Many of the older boys had been on top for over an hour. Huddled in dug out spots, sheltered from the blasting wind. We grabbed cookies. Pictures. Took in the scene. Congratulated each other and began the descent. Every step had to be weighed because of all the loose rocks. Half way down I noticed that my hands were very swollen. Altitude.
5 1/2 hours later we flopped into our van. Hot Tubs. Hot Meals. A nap for Mom. A huge satisfaction of knowing we had conquered a big challenge. For me there was also the personal reward of knowing that one year ago, I did not have the cardiovascular health to do this. YAY! What mountain will we climb next?