Hiking the Colorado Trail

A Mother-Daughter Challenge
By Christine Shaw
  |  Gorp.com

I could feel my heart pounding in my ears. At more than 12,000 feet, the altitude made each breath an effort. The wind was howling through the pass over my head. I trudged up the mountainside, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.

Finally I was able to see my destination, Hope Pass, an almost invisible crack between Mount Hope and Quail Mountain on the Colorado Trail. There was one obstacle between me and the pass: a lingering patch of snow. As I inched my way across, I pondered the existence of snow in late July.

I hauled my tired body and full backpack past the snowfield and up the last few feet. I had never been at this elevation before. I had certainly never experienced a lack of oxygen like this, blurring my thoughts and making my backpack seem to grow heavier with each step, as if an elephant had crawled inside.

My reward was the view. The mountains stretched forever, sparkling with snowfields. After a few minutes, I could hear the labored breathing of my hiking partner as she approached. I was glad to see her coming because my hands and feet were beginning to feel the effects of the cold and wind. I waited, feeling very lucky to have someone to share this place with. I felt even luckier that this person was my mother.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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