Monday, July 14, 2008

Climbing Mt. Lassen

We stayed at Lake Almanor for a week with my DH's family. Aside from the smoke it was a nice vacation.

The hardest and most spectacular thing I did was climb the Brokeoff mountain trail on Mt. Lassen. It was a 7 mile- round trip hike to the top of the summit. None of my marathon training has prepared me for a vertical climb.
Along the way we saw a deer, butterflies, chipmunks, huge bees and many other icky bugs.
We also saw waterfalls, trees, flowers, rock formations, snow and a gorgeous view.

My 11 year old daughter and my brother in law and I started around 9 am. 1/2 mile into the hike I was ready to quit. The smoke from the fires was making it hard to breath and my lungs were burning. My calves were already sore. I sat on a long and told my BIL to go on with out me. He declared it break time. After a few minutes we got up went another 30 feet and took a 30 second break. We continued in this fashion for the next mile. By the time we were half way there I was sure I would not make it. My calves burned with each step, my thighs were trying to keep up with my calves and my lungs were already on fire.

I sat down again and stated that if we were only half way there I would surely die if we continued. My BIL again declared it break time. I took a couple of Ibuprofen, we ate a snack, looked at the view and sat for about 15 minutes. He made sure I knew that getting to the top was his top priority, getting to the top with the entire group was his mission.

I didn't want to be the groups quitter so up I got and up we hiked. We conitued our slow pace of hiking till I couldn't breath and stopping in the shade. Then we would do it again.

I slowly began to feel better. We were getting higher than the smoke so breathing became easier and the medicine was starting to block the pain in my legs.

As we got with in sight of the summit the path became more steep and one misstep could lead to us falling down the side of the mountain. This combined with exhaustion got to my DD. She sat down and became unnerved. We were able to convince her that we would not leave her this close to the end. We would make sure that she made it safe and sound. I offered a prayer asking for peace and courage. My BIL took out a rope, tied one end around his waist and the other around my DD. With slow steps and constant encouragement we made it to the top of Brokeoff Mountain an elevation of 9235 feet.
The view was incredible. If the smoke had not filled the valley we would have been able to see Mt. Shasta and the Sacramento Valley.

We sat, viewed and relaxed before heading back down. The trip down was so much easier. We didn't have to stop every few hundred feet. By the end my DD was even running to get to the car. This was an experience to remember.

No matter how wonderful it was to get to the top it was even better getting there together. The words of encouragement and making it as a group made the experience magical.