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!

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Tsunami Readiness

The first day we arrived for our work/camp hosting at Bullards Beach State Park, we attended a meeting with our Park Ranger, who along with telling us all about our work duties, also told us about Tsunami’s, and showed us where the Tsunami evacuation route is located.

I tried not to let the idea of a Tsunami worry me too much because I like to think positive and want to believe it won’t happen… However, it is real hard not to think about Tsunami’s around here because everywhere you go there is a big sign reminding you of what to do and where to go in the event a Tsunami strikes.

I finally decided Bill and I better get educated as best we can on exactly what to do if a Tsunami does strike while we are here. So, last Thursday evening, Bill and I attended a Tsunami readiness class offered right here in the park. The park brought in an expert guest speaker from Coos Bay to enlighten us on the facts about Tsunami’s. It was very informative, and we learned a lot about how Tsunami’s happen, and how often they occur, on average, here on the Oregon Coast.

I was surprised to learn that, on average, a Tsunami has hit the Oregon coast, every 250 years. Right here, in this very spot where we are located. Now imagine my “deer in the headlights” look when the instructor went on to inform us that it has been 315 years since the last Tsunami hit. He went on to tell us that when (not if) the next one hits, it’s going to be huge. He said the first and only warning we will have is the huge earthquake that will proceed the Tsunami. He told us the earthquake will be violent, and last for at least five full minutes. He actually set a timer and continued talking just to show us how long that five minutes will be… He said we will think the world is going to come to an end, but it’s not, and that we will think we are all going to die, but we won’t. He said the earth will be shaking so hard we won’t be able to stand up or walk at all. He told us to drop, take cover, and hold onto whatever we can find as protection against things falling on us. He said when the shaking stops we will have about 10 minutes to get to our ‘safe zone” before the Tsunami hits. Then he said “now I don’t tell you this to scare anyone, but rather to help you understand how important it is for you to be ready”. OMG! Well it’s already too late to try not to scare me about this! And, now, knowing all that will happen, that put a whole new level of importance on making sure Bill and I know what to do, and where to go, not if, but when the next Tsunami hits!!

Important things we learned were to have a “to go bag” packed, and at the ready, to grab and run with. In the grab and go bag you need water, medications, food, flash light, extra set of cloths etc. for at least three days. The instructor told us we will be on our own because bridges will be gone, there will be no power because all the power lines will be gone… and no one is going to be able to come and get us for days, or even weeks… You better know I’m a planner, and our backpacks are packed and ready right this very minute..

We were also told to practice the Tsunami evacuation route so we know exactly where to go and how long it will take us to get there. So this morning, instead of taking my usual walk around the park, Bill and I practiced the Tsunami evacuation route and timed how long it will take us to reach “the safe zone”.

This is the route we have to take. The pictures are not as sharp as I would like, but when your trying to run and shoot pictures at the same time, you take what you get… Also keep in mind, after the earthquake stops, you have about 10 minutes to get to the “safe zone”.

So, here we go… We have to leave our campsite

run past all the other 100 plus campsites

run down this long road

turn a corner and run down another long road,

turn another corner and go to the Tsunami route trail head

run up the evacuation route that will take us up 80 feet high. It’s a long, winding trail.

Oh, look, sand… now where did that come from. Keep in mind our park is 3 miles from the ocean/beach…

keep running up, up, up…

dodge trees

 

Oh, more sand…

and try not to trip on tree roots that stick up out of the ground and might be hidden by all the sand… I asked Bill where he thought all the sand came from? He said he didn’t know, but it was probably from the last Tsunami. Are you kidding me!!! This is supposed to be a “safe zone” that will keep us above the Tsunami waters…. Now, I’m not always the brightest bulb in the bunch…, but something is  not adding up for me with this picture… Especially now that I remember the instructor saying some Tsunami waves can reach heights of 100 feet or more… This “safe zone’ is only 80 feet high… Do you think that adds up??

But no matter how high the “safe zone” is, it’s better than staying in the campground where the Tsunami waters are for sure going to cover everything… so just keep on running until…

finally, you reach a clearing which is the meeting place for us, and all the other hundreds of people that will be heading for the same little spot…

Bill said it took us seven minutes to reach the “safe zone” from our campsite. Not good enough, because we were fully dressed with shoes etc. If we were to have to do this in the middle of the night, we would have to get dressed, or at least put our shoes on, then grab our to go bags… Thankfully, they are all packed and ready to go..

I just hope all the other folks around here are packed and ready like we are. Because, if they aren’t, and I saw some little kid looking at me hungry, or cold… I would have to give them all our stuff and we would end up just like we never prepared at all..

Stay Tuned!

 

 

The High End Of Bell Trail

About a week ago, Bill and I hiked the Historic Bell Trail in the Coconino National Forest. The day we did that hike, we were not fully prepared to stay out long enough to hike all the way up the mountainous cliffs that take you to what is called “the crack”.  The reason we were not fully prepared that day, was because we did not have enough water to make the 10 mile round trip hike. Now we are prepared to take on any hike we want. Because, we purchased these handy-dandy back-packs, that include a 2 litter water reservoir. The water reservoir has a hose attached that allows you to bite and suck a little tip on the end of the hose so you can drink all the water you want while your hiking. It allows you to hike hands free, making the hike much more enjoyable. And, the backpack is large enough to allow you to include your lunch, and any gear you need… Way cool!

So yesterday off we went, on a 10 mile round trip hike up the bell trail, in search of the bell crack, that Bill really wanted to see.

 

This was a very difficult hike. Because, the majority of the hike involved climbing up, over, and around some very steep and rocky cliff trails.

I mean to say, I had to really dig deep, and suck up all my courage to do this hike. Not only because of the difficulty factor, but I am also very much afraid of heights.  OMG, the things I do for Bill… YIKES!

The payoff, other than being able to say we did it…, was the beautiful up close views of the gorgeous red rock mountains.

We stopped about two hours into our hike, found a nice rock to sit on, and enjoyed our picnic lunch and all the water we could drink… Then we hiked on to see the bell crack which, by the way…,  after all it took to get there, I didn’t even get a picture of it! But that’s a whole other story that’s probably better told while sipping wine around a campfire… 🙂

Finally, after two and a half hours of hiking, climbing up and over rocks, boulders, and just about anything else you can think of along the beautiful, but rugged trail…, it was time to make our way back down the mountain and back to our car. I was hurting all over, and told Bill I felt like my toes were bleeding. He said “I’m not feeling too good myself, but I can tell this isn’t going to be about me right now”. I laughed, but I was thinking to myself, that’s right baby, you’re the one that wanted to see the bell crack… Ha!

Well let me tell you, as much as I love to hike, I was one happy girl after four plus hours of hiking, to have my feet firmly planted back on solid, level, ground!!

Today, both Bill and I are sore to say the least, but Bill is even more sore than me, because about an hour before we reached our car, he slipped in some gravel and fell flat down landing on his hip that was already sore from a previous fall when he tripped over our car dolly!  So after that happened, I told him it could be all about him now… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Let Justice Be Served

This is an update to my last post on 1/12/17, titled “Outraged” , where I documented the incident of our daughter, Shantel, being attacked in her apartment by some scum of the earth thug that broke into her home, hit her, knocking her to the ground, then tried to strangle her until he was scared off by her neighbors responding to her screams. He fled with her cell phone which he eventually threw away after he realized the phone had been locked and had a tracking system on it.

Shantel called me last night to tell me the detective handling her case called her at work yesterday to let her know they caught this thug, arrested him and put him in jail. The detective said that this thug admitted to everything he did to Shantel. As a result, he has been charged with four felony charges for what he did to Shantel, and he has been charged with parole violation, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of narcotics.

The detective also told Shantel that they put a restraining order on him for Shantel, and that because he already admitted to everything he did, he will go to trail, but Shantel will not have to appear. She can instead have a victim advocate attend the trial on her behalf if she wants.

Bill and I are very thankful for the swift work of the detective and the police that are working Shantel’s case. It is because of their dedication, and hard work, this thug has been captured and taken off the streets so he can’t hurt anyone else.

I think it is always awful when anyone thinks they can impose their will on another person, but I think it takes a special kind of evil to attack a helpless disabled person. All I can say now is let justice be served on him.

Bill and I went to Shantel’s apartment and Bill reinforced the deadbolt lock on her door. Hopefully she will be safer now in her own home.

I want to thank all those who expressed their concern for Shantel and who have asked how she is doing now. Shantel is a very brave, independent, young woman. She said while she is a little scared over all of this, she continues to move past her fear and carry on with her life.

Of course, as her parents, Bill and I always worry about Shantel. But at the same time, Bill and I raised her to be strong, and independent, because we know we will not always be around. We are so proud of the way Shantel has learned to live on her own, taking her rightful place in this world, and how she never lets fear stop her from living her life on her own to the best of her ability. Stay strong Shantel. Papa and I love you so very much.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

Outraged!

As parents of a disabled adult child, Bill and I were confronted with our worst nightmare when our precious daughter, Shantel, called to tell us that last Saturday night, as she laid in her bed listening to a program on her phone, she thought she heard someone trying to get in her bedroom window. She immediately called 911 and reported what she thought was happening. The 911 operator told her they were sending help but did not keep her on the phone as they usually do.

Of course Shantel was scared, so she decided she would take her phone and go lock herself in her bathroom until the police arrived. However, as Shantel was leaving her bedroom and walking across the hall to the bathroom, she heard someone kick her front door in and before she could even get to the bathroom, some thug, said “Shantel its Damien”, and within minutes he had her by the throat and started choking her. She said she couldn’t breathe and thought she was going to die. She started trying to hit him and did everything she could to try to escape his grasp. She fought so hard that the intruder hit her in the face knocking her to the floor. Shantel began screaming so loud that her neighbors upstairs ( a brother and sister that share an apartment together, and who thankfully help her from time to time and check in on her to make sure she is alright) heard her screams and one of them started down the stairs to see what was happening while the other one called her cell phone which caused the intruder to grab her phone from her and run out of her apartment.

As the intruder was fleeing Shantel’s apartment, the brother and sister upstairs, and two other people saw him, and were able to identify him as a person that lived in the apartment complex in the past. They pulled him up on Facebook and showed his Facebook page to the police.

The police took Shantel to the police station and took pictures of her face and throat and Shantel said she was at the police station until 5:00 in the morning. However, Shantel did not call Bill and I until Sunday afternoon to tell us about all of this. I asked her why she didn’t call us Saturday night when she was at the police station and she said “I’m an adult now mom (23), and I didn’t want to worry you and Papa.” OMG, I told her “we are your parents and we want to know when you are in danger, or when something happens to you.”

I asked Shantel how she knew this intruder since he told her his name and she said he did live across the courtyard from her and he would say hi to her if she was walking to or from the laundry room, office, or mail box. She said he never came in her home and she really never had any conversation other than one day he was sitting on his patio and saw her as she passed by and said “hi, my name is Damien.” Then after that if he was out on his patio and she was walking by he would say Hi…

This whole thing of course has traumatized Shantel, and both Bill and I are just heart-sick about all of this.

I asked Shantel if she was scared to live there now and she said “a little, but I know I have to get past that because this is what I can afford, and my neighbors above do help me, and it is close to my best friend Jaz, and even if I moved mom, the same thing could happen…”

Of course as her parents, both Bill and I are OUTRAGED about all of this. It takes a special kind of scum of the earth to hurt a disabled blind person. I have to tell you as her mother, I would love to know who did this to my precious Shantel and if I ever came face to face to him… God forgive me, but I would do what ever I could to make sure that scum of the earth NEVER had an opportunity to do this again to anyone.

I am the mother of a disabled adult child, and I voted, and because of that, I have every right to voice my opinion, and my opinion is if you make fun of a disabled person, bully a disabled person, attack a disabled person, or support anyone that does… YOU are deplorable, and YOU are the scum of the earth, because then YOU helped set the stage for this to happen to my disabled daughter,  and if this post offends you, tough shit!!!

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

Fighting The Wild-Fire

A wild-fire is burning here in Wyoming, just behind Sheep Mountain seen in the background of the picture below, which is located right in the Buffalo Bill North Fork Campground where Bill and I are living and working for the summer.

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What started as a grass fire quickly reached the trees and spread into National Forests and has already consumed over 13,000 acres of land.

Ever wonder what it takes to fight a raging wild-fire? Well I captured a few pictures to share. Please know that the pictures are not as good as I would have liked because I was taking them from the inside of our work truck and I didn’t want to disturb the firefighters in any way.

Hundreds of firefighters poured into our campgrounds.

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Bill got a chance to talk to a couple of them. This young man said his team was from Oregon. But there are firefighters here from all over the country. Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Hot shot teams are everywhere.

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They sat up their main command center in one of our day use areas where there are tables and fresh water.

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It is amazing to watch how quickly they got their command area set up and to see how much support equipment is needed to fight a wild-fire like this.

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Even the Wyoming Homeland Security is here with them.

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Huge trucks brought in lights.

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Truck loads of food was delivered.

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Bob, our neighbor and co-worker (he and his wife, Becky are such great people), helped mow the fields where more trucks and supplies will be. The dead grass had to be cut short so no sparks from their catalytic converters would start yet another fire…

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And truck, after truck, after truck load of firefighters kept rolling in… Along with helicopters and planes that fly back and forth dipping water from our reservoir to dump on the fire.

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These men in the picture below just came in from fighting the fire. They told Bill they are hot and tired and all they wanted to do was get their boots off, get something to eat, and find a place to lay down and rest…

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Some were so tired they were not going to be picky about where they slept. They just popped up a tent in the middle of a field.

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Like I said, these pictures are not near as good as I wanted, but they are the best I could get under the circumstances. But my Frissy said she wanted to see firefighters so GG, this one is for you!

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Right now Bill and I and our neighbors are safe. We believe as long as we are surrounded by all these firefighters we will continue to be safe. Right now all we see is a lot of smoke. But rest assured, if we see even one flame at the top of Sheep Mountain, we are all out of here!

Please keep all these brave men and women fighting this fire in your thoughts and prayers.

Stay Tuned!

A Time To Listen…

I went to visit my mother today and found her sitting alone in her wheelchair at the end of the hall near the nurses station. When I approached her, and bent down to give her a hug, she grabbed me and held onto my neck and said “oh Cindy, you got here just in time.” I asked her what I was just in time for and she said “they are going to kill all of us and we have to wait here and not move.” I asked her who was going to kill them and she said “we are all going to get killed right now and there is nothing we can do but sit here and wait.” With her dementia, this was Very real to her and she was VERY, VERY, upset. She said if she thought I was out there in the middle of all that she would have been even more scared than she already was.  I told her everything was going to be fine and told her that I was going to take her back to her room so we could visit.

When I got mom to her room she said ” you just don’t know what all is going on around here and it’s not safe for anyone to be here.” I noticed her roommates TV was on and the roommate was not in the room.  That TV is on every time I visit my mother and my mother has told me that the roommate leaves it on all day and night. As I sat there trying to calm my mother down, I heard the news broadcasting events of the attacks in Paris, and realized that my mother must have been listening to that news over the past couple days and translated that to the care center where she lives is being attacked and people are being killed there… So I asked the nurse if we could turn the TV off, which she did, and the nurse agreed that my mother might be hearing the news over and over, and with her dementia, she thinks it is all happening at the care center in real-time…

From the doorway of my mother’s room, she can see across the hall, and out the window of the resident across the hall from her. Outside that window is a storage lot for the care center. Beyond that, is a two-story apartment building, and my mother can see the upper floor balcony of that apartment building, and people that live in the apartments walking back and forth on that balcony as they come and go. I can clearly see that the building is an apartment, and the people walking on the balcony live there… However, my mother is convinced that the people on the balcony are soldiers, and they are watching the care center residents, and are ready to kill them at any moment… She even told me today that yesterday they had Jesus hanging on a big cross out there in the lot all day long. With tears in her eyes, she said “I just think that is awful, don’t you?” What could I say? There is no reasoning with my mother now. She is convinced that what she thinks she sees is real now, and any attempt to try to explain that what she thinks she sees, in reality just isn’t, just upsets her even more. So all I can do is listen to her and try to calm her as best as I can…

Today, in my attempt to calm her, I said “mom, when you get scared, or anxious, you know you can always just say your prayers and focus on that to help you calm down.” She said “I do, every morning, when I wake up, I look at the picture of Jesus on my wall and say, now listen, today has to be a good day because I can’t stand all this commotion so if you help me I’ll help you.” OMG, I can just hear my mother saying that to Jesus… and I’m sure he smiles and just listens

Stay Tuned!

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