Attitude vs. Altitude

I’ve been having problems adjusting to the altitude change since we arrived in Questa, New Mexico. We’ve been here just over two weeks now, and I have been itching to get out and do some real hiking. The past few days, I started feeling like I might finally be adjusting to the altitude, since I was able to take a deep breath while walking around the campgrounds, and/or when we were in town etc. So I told Bill/papa that I thought I might be ready to try taking a short, but real hike. We went to the local Ranger Station and asked for a list of local hikes. We were given 20 pages of hikes to choose from. One or two of them stated the hike was “novice to intermediate” and the rest were listed as “moderate, moderate to difficult, difficult, or expert hikes. Well, come on now I thought to myself, I walk or hike all the time in Arizona, so I certainly think I can do more than a “novice to intermediate” hike. Bill told me to pick the hike I thought I was going to be able to do based on how I was feeling with the altitude issues. I decided on the Cebolla Mesa hike. It is listed as a moderate hike and is only 1.25 miles long. The actual description of the hike read ” this trail is moderately strenuous to the confluence of the Rio Grande and Red River. The trail is steep and rocky, at the top, then switching to moderately steep with 22 switchbacks. The views of the gorge and the desert landscape are spectacular”. What on this earth would ever make that sounded easy enough to me to start out with? STUPID comes to mind!! The altitude must have really affected my brain, and clouded my normally good judgement. 22 switchbacks, I don’t even like switchbacks when I’m in a car! Mix in the fact that I have a PROFOUND fear of heights, and I for sure had the perfect set-up for a close call with disaster!!

But, off we went, into the wilderness as far as we could go until we reached


the trailhead that I, in my lost state of mind, thought I could tackle…

Oh, the views were “spectacular” at least what I could see of them seeing how I was too busy climbing over boulders and slipping and sliding along steep cliffs..

OMG, Bill/papa I said, I’m not so sure now if I’m going to be able to do this or not. But we decided we would just take it real slow, and easy, and if I felt at anytime I can’t go on, we would just turn back…

OK, I thought to myself, as we rounded the next switchback, it does look like it is starting to level out, somewhat. Maybe I can do this. I’ll just adjust my attitude and think positive. I always try to think positive and it usually serves me well…

Then we hit the next switchback, and I looked at the huge rocks, and steep slopes, and thought, “oh, HeLL, NO” if I go down there any further, that will for sure become my final resting place. I somehow had enough sense left to know I was never going to make it back out of there alive..

And not one minute to soon did I make that decision, because the climb back to the top was slow and painful, and I felt like I had an elephant riding on my back every step of the way.

I am convinced we are lucky we didn’t make it to the bottom of that trail. Because, let me tell you, when we finally made to back up out of there from the point where I decided I couldn’t go on, I was as spent as this dead tree, that also gave up the spirit, and the “I can do it attitude”, and just laid over.

I now have a very healthy respect for altitude changes, and what it can do to your body, and your attitude. Ha!

As Bill/papa always says when things don’t go as expected… “we had an adventure”. That for me was an adventure I won’t be repeating anytime soon.

After attempting that hike of doom, we found out there are other, more “normal”, hikes around the Taos day use areas. They aren’t even listed on the hiking list we got from the local Ranger’s Office. What’s up with that? Perhaps next week we will go check out some of them.

Stay tuned!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill
    May 18, 2018 @ 19:12:06

    Oh Girly I just had a great idea, when we come to the end of our summer vacation, we can come back this way and try this hike again. What do you think?

    Hahaha Love you


  2. gotham girl
    May 19, 2018 @ 01:16:15

    Oh my! What an adventure! Ha! Ha! Glad you didn’t have a tumble. Love you!


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