Today I re-enter real life after a 9-day vacation – and oh, the pain.

I mean that figuratively, of course – but also literally. My body hurts. I climbed three 14ers last week, and I’m all scabs and bruises today. On a steep slope a week ago Sunday, a rock the size of a bowling ball dislodged above me and somehow rolled into my left knee, leaving only a small bloody mark but a deep bruise. Today, I’m left with a dilemma: I need to stretch my quad, but to do so would require bending my knee, which tears the scab.

We all face choices.

Anyway, this past Saturday I climbed Mt. Columbia. And it’s a good thing this 14er was my 34th and not my 1st – because had it been my 1st, I would never have climbed a mountain again. It was that horrible.

The top 2,000 feet is nothing but scree, a mixture of countless small loose rocks and slippery dirt that has only one goal: move down the mountain. To step is to dislodge it, leaving a climber feel like she’s in Indiana Jones, or a video game, or at least an episode of “Wipeout” – no matter what, you have to keep your feet moving. To stop is to slide. So I spent hours – HOURS – plodding straight up the mountain, and when the earth would start to give way beneath my feet, I’d run (fine, awkwardly scamper) to not be taken down with it.

The descent was even worse, so I decided to try to just ride the landslides down like I was skiing: SCREEING, I thought, proud of myself for being so clever.

Come to find out, the Internet already coined the term. The Internet always wins.

I have never cussed so much in my life – all the worst words, the ones that would convince you to never let me hold your babies again. I’d slide a bit, first cautiously, then out of control, causing one landslide after another, making me thankful that no one was below me. When I’d finally grind to a stop, pebbles in my boots and body shaking, I’d feel like screaming. I mean SCREEMING.

Thankfully, Mt. Columbia is over. Not so thankfully, vacation is too.

Keep your chin up out there today, people. Mondays can’t last forever, and neither can scabs. Words to live by.



  1. Michael Rhyne on July 8, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Wow! I’ve read about scree. I think I’ll stick to hiking in my worn down Appalachians! Vacation ending is always sad. Our shorter one is over, too, and I have tons of work to do between now and September…TONS! As I tackle it, I will have the image of you putting Mt. Columbia on your “been there, done that” list of 14ers. You are quite amazing…you know that, right?

  2. Greta on July 8, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Oh man… That sounds like something out of a nightmare. Can we assume then the worst is behind you? And you DID it– proving once again that you are one tough cookie.

    Thanks for your voicemail– was good to hear your voice. Let’s definitely try to make a phone date happen this week!

  3. Shelby Tate on July 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    You are brilliant. I want to climb a 14er with you some day! Sad I missed you when you were in Montrose ballerina!

  4. Peg Achterman on July 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Hoping there are warnings on the 14-ers you have left. “Much scree” — so at least you’ll know to call up your courage. Maybe Mt. Columbia is the worst?

  5. Matt on July 10, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    This post made me want to scream “Hell yeah!” more than any other post you’ve written. It is true, well written, and I love it.

Leave a Comment