Category Archives: Hiking

Hiking Handies Peak

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The view was spectacular —but the climb itself was my milestone.DSC_1624

Six months after ankle reconstruction surgery, I had hiked to the top of Handies Peak, one of Colorado’s fifty three “14ers.”*  In the previous week, my ankle had carried me high into the San Juans, up vertical DSC_1608climbs to impossibly blue crystal lakes and over treacherous rock slides to exposed wind swept crags.

With my surgical scar hidden beneath the strap of my hiking sandal, none could see the evidence of my three bone and ligament grafts acquired in November of 2012. The few determined hikers we encountered around Durango, Silverton and Ouray saw only a like-minded mother and daughter, paused only for photos and occasional gasps of the thin air.

OK, I may have smiled a little more than the average hiker as I crested Handies —but it’s tough to contain the exhilaration of beating “you can’t.”263448_10151136090428148_585337907_n

* Mountains with an elevation of over 14,000 feet.

 For more inspiration, read the free download sample of “Stuffing Sandwiches Down My Shirt… Strategies and Inspiration for Crutch Users.

Stuffing (kindle)

 

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Featured Photo: Trail View on Montserrat

Featured Photo: Trail View on Montserrat (Barcelona, Spain)


As we hiked up the “saw-toothed mountain” Montserrat near Barcelona, Spain, a backward glance revealed this view. The significance of this small building wasn’t immediately clear, but the trail eventually took us through cliff hugging hermitages (rock cavities that served as homes for solitary monks) and up a steep climb to a spectacular mountaintop view. Home to a Benedictine monastery founded in 1025, Montserrat was an easy one-hour train ride from the city and a highlight of our trip to Barcelona.

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I Spy from Sky High

Aside from its 7000 foot elevation and lack of community garage sales (or garages, for that matter), it was still a different sort of neighborhood.  While I might glance across my street to admire lush landscaping or to see if the neighbor who occasionally rides to my lawn’s rescue on a John Deere lawnmower is headed my way, Walnut Canyon tenants watched the inhabitants of their cliff side community for more serious considerations.

The Sinagua people’s version of the neighborhood watch was an ongoing monitoring of cross-canyon villages.  Awareness lowered the probabilities of surprises in a place where the unexpected was unlikely to be a positive event.  A cliff side perch allowed for controlled access and a passive defense.  It was community living at arms length and with a roughly 600 foot drop-off in between.

Water could be found far below.  Sometimes.  Water storage was critical as the dry season was desert dry —the Spanish words sin and agua translate to “without water.”  Food was hunted, gathered and grown on the relatively fertile soil of the cliff rims above.  Observing the neighbors in 1125 AD was more about computing essential survival information than today’s mundane curb check to verify trash collection day.

The cliff dwellings: Sinagua Style Sky-boxes

The lifestyle: Just a Wild Guess?

 

More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook

Flagstaff Things To Do

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