Mountains to Climb

Driving to the cabin for a recent 3-day writing retreat, I passed a landmark that brought back a flood of memories.

Many years ago, when we had only four children, Hubby and I were invited to go on a backpacking hike without the kids. I had been camping and had done day hikes before, but I had never backpacked. Howard had backpacked with some of the people in this group before. It sounded like an adventure. Little did I know!

The trail that had been chosen was the Rockwall. I was to be the only woman. There would be Hubby and four other guys. Three of the guys had done this trip before and assured me that anyone could do it. Just to set the stage – back then I weighed 102 lbs on a heavy day, and I was 9 months past a major car accident with second grade whiplash. When we did our group pack check my pack weighed 35 pounds – and that was after Hubby had taken some of my gear and stashed it in his pack.

We put in at Lake O’Hara and hiked for what seemed like forever until we got to where we were pitching tent for the first night. That first night, because I had not adjusted the straps on my pack properly, my back seized up so bad I couldn’t move my arms to drop my pack. Hubby had to lift it off me. And then I couldn’t move my upper body to get undressed for bed. This trip was not starting well. One of the other hikers had some drugs with him – Roboxacet and Tylenol 3. He offered them to me, and recognizing that I was in deep trouble, I took them. I slept like a baby and woke up feeling refreshed, relaxed, and out of pain. The guys helped me adjust my straps properly and that solved the back/neck issues.

We continued on. There was no day shorter than 10 hours of hiking, and every day had a massive climb up and


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