While I was going thru treatment Zach and I kinda got the hiking bug since I had to quarantine myself for almost 6 months, but I couldn’t friggin’ stand to spend one more minute on the couch. So we hit up Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and some canyons in Texas on the weekends to get out, get some fresh air, and get the feck out of Clovis. So, a rad ass group of my gal pals from KC decided that we’d all get together for a week in Colorado and go hiking! Perrrrrrfect! I get outside, I get to see my girlfriends, we get a great Air bnb in Breckenridge complete with our own private hot tub. I mean life is GOOOOD! In the weeks leading up to the trip we started discussing what trails we were going to hike on which days etc etc. I hadn’t been to Colorado in the summertime so I was basically leaving it up to these broads to plan. I was up for ANYTHING. Including a “14 er” that i’ll focus on more later.
So we all arrive in Breckenridge. Naturally our first stop is the Dillon Brewery for some eats and dranks! I haven’t seen these gals in over a year so there were lots of hugs and tears! We arrive at our mountain condo and decide that we should go for a little jaunt to open up our lungs and get used to the altitude.
Here’s our crew for day 1 and 2 ^^^ Me, Heather, Stacie, Jamie, and Lori (My best gal, and maid of honor. She’s the saucy little minx who encouraged me to start this bloggy blog) Rad. Ass. Day hikes! As you can see the weather was perfection, the scenery was perfection, and the company was even better! So as we were planning this trip Stacie kept talking about a 14er. And I have to be totally honest we were all in a FB messenger chat and I wasn’t even really paying attention to what that meant. I was just frickin excited about the trip so I was like “Yaaaas! Let’s do that! Whatever it is, let’s do it.” Famous last words. Honestly, when I heard the term “14er” I thought she was talking about miles. Which was NO Problemo, Man! Like, i’m totes down! I gots me a new fancy style camelpack, i’ll bring snacks….it’ll be fine! Basically it’s like a picnic in the trees! I’m totally prepared. Until I figured out a 14er isn’t miles. It’s altitude. Like 14,000 feet UP! We hit up Natural Grocers the night before and we start chatting it up with this real crunchy cashier who tells us that we should start “As early as possible” for said hike because “The mountains get angry in the afternoon” HA! Ok, fella…… pump the brakes. I don’t need your negativity. So we sorta take his advice. Wake up as the ass crack of dawn and head to the trailhead. The Quandary Peak trailhead to be exact. Now…. let me hit you with a little knowledge. The Urban Dictionary says the definition of Quandary is: A State of Perplexity. I don’t know who came up with the name of this specific trail, but they hit it on the head. Get it? Hit it the trail on the head? Funny? Yes? No? Ok, whatever…. We are on the trail at 7am. Here we are at the start. All smiles and dumb faces…..not even having a clue what the day is going to bring us..
If you think you’re seeing double, you are. Heather is a triplet and it just so happens that her sister lives in Colorado Springs so she was able to join us for the madness! As the hike starts out, we are still in the trees but it’s rocky as hell. We walk for a good 90 minutes until we break out of the treeline into what (in my opinion) looked like friggin mars!
It was windy and cold as shit! There was no place to pee so I had to basically just suck it up and pee off the side of the trail twice in front of god and everyone else on the mountain. The smiles that Lori have on our face in that photo got wiped off REAL quick! The mountain got angry. Outside of kicking cancers ass, is definitely the most grueling thing i’ve ever put myself through. As we all reached closer and closer to the top we would have to psych each other up and say “OK! 10 more steps and we’ll take a break!” “We can do this!” I don’t know if I was in some temporary state of psychosis, but I would laugh hysterically one minute, and then the next minute I would just bust out crying. I kept thinking to myself “Lindsay, WTF are you doing?!?! You are like 8 weeks out from chemotherapy and you’re trying to traverse this mountain! IDIOT!” And once I was done crying I would let out like these crazy primal screams just to get all my feels out of my system. It was insane. I’m not a super religious person….i’d say i’m more spiritual than anything else. And this hike was as close to a spiritual awakening as i’ve ever had. Voluntarily allowing myself to suffer was almost cleansing in a way. You’re with your best friends, on the side of a fucking mountain with NOTHING around you….except suffering. You realize that you… YES YOU are an incredibly small cog in a REALLY REALLY big wheel. The universe doesn’t owe you shit. And it can wipe you out in the snap of a finger! I was thinking about all of these things while I was giving the universe a big middle finger for taking a swing at me, but missing!
So when you do a big ass hike like this it’s pretty standard to take a congratulatory photo at the top documenting the madness. But on this day, I didn’t make it to the top. The peak of this monster is at 14,265 feet and I climbed up to 14,065 and I shit you not some may be reading this thinking “Oh my gawd you couldn’t have climbed 200 more feet” and to that comment I answer no. Not only no, but HELL NO. Not on that day. My friend Jamie and I were the last 2 in our caravan and we were WAY behind the pack. Truth be told with all the switchbacks on that last 200 feet it probably would have taken me another 45 minutes…..and I was spent. I should also mention that I was out of water and we were up above the cloud line and I could see lightning in the clouds….which later turned into a freak snow storm that we got stuck in. Not cool. So Jamie and I talked it over for about 20 seconds and both agreed to get TF out of Dodge! It took us 6 hours to get up that bad boy, but only 2 to get down….we were CRUISING baby! I should also mention that I fell asleep in the parking lot of the trailhead while we were waiting for the rest of the gals to descend. I was POOOOOPED!
Since December 29, 2016 (the day of my diagnosis) i’ve had my head down and have been in over drive. I had one goal and basically ignored all of the emotions that come along with a cancer diagnosis because I wouldn’t allow it to deter me from my goal. But I left some heavy shit on the (almost) peak of Quandary mountain. Even in the weeks after my last treatment I don’t think it really sank in what I did. It feels premature to say “I beat cancer” because there is no cure for what I have. There is no cure for cancer. I left all the sadness, and anger up there. I brought home peace and stillness. And most importantly I brought home an experience that I shared with an amazing…..I mean FRICKIN amazing group of women that i’ll cherish for the rest of my days!