Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Blanca Peak

I jumped when Nick's text sprang onto my phone and instantly tears filled my eyes and spilled over. Total relief. I looked across the table at Petra and tried to explain how nervous I'd been that I hadn't heard from him and the girls for eight hours past when they should've been on the summit of Sherman. But she understood. I know it's the easiest 14er in the state, but I'm a mother, so I can't stop the video behind my eyes of everything that could go wrong.

But it all went right and the three of them were done with Sherman, according to Cayenne, "in two seconds." I suppose when the last 14er you climbed took 15.5 hours, this probably did feel like a split second. Back at their campsite by 10:30 A.M., they decided to go nab another one. They were on the summit of Quandary that afternoon, before hunkering down in (long-time family friends) Charlie and Debra Campbell's cabin near Breckenridge. Added bonus: the cabin has television, so my girls are happy campers tonight. 

No photos yet of what they climbed today because they are out of range again, so here are a couple of their last adventure.

 In case you're wondering what could take 15.5 hours? 
Hiking the whole ridge - from the left side of the photo to the right side - of Blanca Peak (14,345 ft). July 1st.

Yay! We're done! Let's eat!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Slytherin House

Acacia's a screamer at the best of times, but I knew when I heard the pitch of this one that something was amiss. I saw her run to the back door holding her hand and assumed she'd been stung by a bee.

"I got bitten by a snake! It's poisonous!"

Huh? There are rattlesnakes in these parts, but not in the garden. They like the hot dry dusty trails on the open mesas, so maybe in Nick's garden in Phoenix, but not here.

"What did it look like?"

"It was a gardener snake and the kids at school said they're reeeeeeeeally poisonous! I could die!!"

A garter snake? They're harmless and I've never heard of one biting so I needed to make sure that's what it was, and not a rattler.

And there it was, a fat, dopey garter, and on Acacia's hand, a queue of double dots where his fangs had lightly broken her skin in a trail along her thumb.She didn't believe me and I started doubting myself so we Googled it and they do indeed bite occasionally - but no, Acacia would not be dying from it. So off she went, climbing in the garden where the snake lay, not bothered by it and still liking snakes.

Until two days later. That was when she witnessed our fat snake wrapping itself around a small chipmunk who at the time she saw it, was already beyond saving - but still alive. She was beside herself. So sad!

The snake consumed little Chippy from the back legs up, so near the end of this ordeal, just his furry face was peeking out from the snake's dislocated jaws. Zoology 101, right by the front door, just below the empty Stellar's Jay nest.

Acacia no longer likes snakes.