19 February 2010


From My Heart5 March 2005

Exactly four months ago, I allowed a total stranger to slice my back open. At 9 a.m. today, the precise moment the anesthesia kicked in back in November, I was standing atop Cupid. Yes, that's really the name of the mountain. I wouldn't make that up!

I’ve had this fantasy of climbing 13,117-foot Cupid from Loveland Pass on Valentine’s Day for more than a year. Last year I was grounded because of my knee. This year, I couldn’t get the time off work. Plus, I’d made a feeble attempt at Bierstadt on the three-month anniversary, and I was so sore from the dreaded downhill, I didn’t dare try going up anything again until today.

And that shortened one month must have been exactly what I needed because I made it! Downhill still is no picnic, and I don’t take as many photos because I have to continually be aware of where I’m putting my feet. But I did it! I made a summit. No 3,000-foot elevation gain, but I stood atop a mountain, and for today, that’s good enough for me.

We took snowshoes but did not pack them up the mountain with us because the wind-blown slopes did not look as if they would require them. Less than four inches of well-packed, old, crunchy snow in places on the way up; slushy soft snow intermingled with hazardous (to me) icy spots on the way down. The weather was perfect; blue skies on the way up, slight breeze but nothing to topple this Weeble; building clouds and stronger breeze on the way down.

The views of the Citadel, Grays and Torreys, Grizzly, the Mosquitoes, distant Holy Cross and the Gore Range were phenomenal, probably more so for me since my hunger for such has been denied for more than five months.

On top of Point 12,195, I rested on a snow-covered rock shelter, unable to make a dent in my frozen Power Bar, contemplating the traverse over to Cupid. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I was afraid I might not make it to the saddle because of the downhill, even though it was gentle and slight, and then not be able to make it back to the car. I pondered for a few minutes, contrasting the way I felt on Bierstadt with the way I felt today.

The sudden, crippling sharp pains that felt like being stabbed in the behind are less frequent now. I still have to stop to stretch quite frequently, but sitting down and getting back on my feet doesn’t require a third hand now.

On Bierstadt, I couldn’t step in someone else’s posthole because I couldn’t get out by myself. Today there was no post-holing.

I could see most of the trail. What little snow the wind hadn’t carried away was raised and compacted into a scribbly white line lazily making its way to the summit. I devoured a soft, chewy, chocolate Little Deborah (stop laughing!), put my frozen Power Bar in my pants pocket, hoping my body heat might transform it into something edible, and decided to go for Cupid. Less than an hour later, I was scanning the top of Cupid for heart-shaped rocks, lichens or snowfields, to no avail.

No mountain goats, no pikas, no register and no people. It wasn’t the Hallmark holiday, but it was my own very special holiday, and my now mushy raspberry cream Power Bar was the perfect reward.


  1. So glad you stopped in - always happy to hear from someone new... I wish I had to patiende to make the neat things you do... I'm a card make and a gardener. I did organize one wool gathering for people to make hats and booties for preemies at our local hospital - they made - I delivered...the goods that is! Hugs, Jennifer

  2. a great pattern for Valentine :)


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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