Monday, May 19, 2008

Always an adventure when you hike with me...

The Angel of Shavano
May 11, 2008

Be warned...whenever you hike with me, it's always an adventure!

It all started on the drive up when only a small portion of the road was blocked by a huge snow drift! Luckily, however, we had Crystal and her CR-V! After a couple tries, we made it up! So we all piled into the CR-V for the last few miles to the trailhead. Here we all are! Ready to start! It was already a gorgeous day!

Derek, Zach, Leah, Crystal, me and Rachel Checking out the map...maybe we should have studied it a little more... Leah and I ready to go! Heading up. Despite the snow, it was incredibly warm and I don't remember putting on my long sleeves until well above treeline. I believe I said at one point, "I could hike all day with weather like this!" Oh, had I only known what was in store...Posing with the AngelClimbing up the body of the Angel. I got to test out my crampons and what fun! The snow was just a little too soft, but definitely far easier with crampons than snow shoes. Somewhere around 2 I finally made it to the summit. I was bummed that I just didn't have time to make it over to Tab, but this way, I can adhere to the 3,000 ft rule, right?

Antero is in the background which is where this all started. In November, Heather and I hiked up Antero and she pointed Shav & Tab out to me and told me all about the Angel hike and I've been dreaming of it ever since.

On the summit!

Crystal, Leah & MeTabaguache from Shavano. If you could zoom in really closely, you'd see Zach & Rachel on the summit...well done friends!!Crystal on the way back down, enjoying the view My butt track! It was my first experience glissading. It was fun, but I'm not sure the snow was the best for this...kind of a bumpy ride at times, but oh what fun!
Below is a video of us working as a team to get down the mountain. Leah was frustrated with her snow shoes, and we found this to be a good alternative...way to go, team!

After this, I didn't really take many pictures because, well, we got a little lost... If you can see the trail in the above video, everything was completely snow covered and we thought we were following the right path, but eventually, we realized that something was not quite right and we had no idea where we were. Each one of us thought we should go in a different direction, which confused us even more! One of these days I'll learn to bring a map or compass, but really, it's these adventures that I love! I'm not sure the rest of the group felt the same way because there was quite a bit of tension in the air. It had been a long day, and a rough go at times, and truthfully, all we wanted was to be done!

Well, to make matters worse, Zach and Rachel were somewhere behind us. We had no idea if they were following our tracks, or if they had followed the correct path, all we could do was pray! By some miracle, and it truly was a miracle, we stumbled upon a trail with a map. Trouble was, we didn't quite know where we were going, and therefore, the map wasn't too helpful, except there was one little clue we recognized and decided to just go for it and by the grace of God, we found our trail and by 9pm, we'd made it back to our car! Woohoo! Well, sort of. Remember I said Zach and Rachel were behind us? Well, they hadn't made it back to the car yet and at this point, we had no idea where they were. To be honest, we'd thought they would have caught up to us by now because we were going pretty slowly for that purpose, but they were no where to be found!

Luckily, getting back to the car, we were all able to retrieve our cell phones and we called Zach immediately and they were safe, but lost, just like we had been. They had decided to follow our tracks, but when the snow ended, so did our tracks.

So there we were, no idea where our friends were and trying to think of what we could do to find them. Leah and Crystal were exhausted and so they stayed at the car in case Zach and Rachel found their way back, and Derek and I went back out onto the trail...with our whistles! It's kind of funny because Zach and I had had a conversation about the whistle calls we learned in 24/7 survival training and sort of joked about it just earlier that day and there we were, using the whistles to try and find our friends! Derek and I went in probably a mile or two blowing our whistles, when Derek brilliantly looked up at the stars and realized we were almost directly under the big dipper. So I called Zach, asked him what he saw above him and what do you know, he said the big dipper so we knew they weren't too far away. And let me tell you, the sound of his whistle in response to ours was one of the best sounds I'd ever heard!

Big hugs all around, and then we called Leah and Crystal to tell them the good news as we headed back to the car. What a day!

It was only about 45 minutes that we were waiting/looking for Zach and Rachel, but it seemed like an eternity! I'm just thankful we all found our way back safely and lessons learned, bring a map, know where you're going and stay on the trail!!

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