My mom and I were concluding our wonderful time together celebrating my victory and were now getting ready to leave the next day, but I had this thought that kept circling in my head, “Should I call the news stations? Should I try to share my story??” The fear of rejection had kept me from calling since I had finished.. a fear that has held me back countless times in my life.
I decided I’d take the chance to prove to myself that I could work past my fears. After all, I had already done it so many times on this trip already. I knew it was better to keep rolling with my new found courage and “just try” as I had been doing and had said this entire trip.
As I nervously sat in the hotel lobby, I called the first news station and left a voicemail. My voice was undeniably shaky. I was so nervous about what to say…but by my third and fourth call my voice had found its strength and 9News on the spot asked if I could be featured as an exclusive on the largest news network in Colorado. I couldn’t believe it!! They actually cared!! They thought it was important! It just goes to show that God was once again by my side and even though I called multiple news stations, He opened the right doors for my story to be heard by as many people as possible in the state of Colorado!
Now I know it’s important to realize that even if I wasn’t contacted by a news station, that didn’t mean it wasn’t important, but I was floored that I was going to have the opportunity to share my story where it would be heard by thousands. All I wanted, more than anything was to inspire others and here was my chance.
I quickly walked down the hotel hall and burst open the door to tell my mom that I was actually going to be on the news!! Her play it safe reaction, surprised me. It was as if she and I both couldn’t let it sink in that this was actually going to happen.
We waited a couple hours for a reporter to call us and she arranged for us to meet Steve Staeger that very day! Now it was official- we had a place, a time and a date! Immediately we called my dad to tell him the news. He was also very even keeled about the appearance and was maybe a little disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to watch it since he was still in Minnesota.
I got ready the best I could with what little clothes I had and headed to Golden where we would be taping. Normally in an instance such as this I know in the past I would have drove myself absolutely mad to get as thin as possible for something as huge as this. I’d be completely consumed with looking “fat” and afraid of people’s judgments. I’d also make sure my nails were manicured, my makeup was perfect and my hair was freshly highlighted- but there was no time for any of this. But instead of shutting down or driving myself crazy, I simply accepted myself for what I was, and focused on the grand picture. “This isn’t even about me, this about being a light and hope to others! This is my moment to honor God! This is what today is about!”
As we pulled up around the corner I could see the 9News truck and the set. I couldn’t believe it was set up for little ol’ me! It was such a surreal moment in my life.
Steve Staeger came to greet me along with the camera man (who I regrettably cannot remember his name). They were so cheerful and kind. I took a seat in the director chair and they hooked me up with the mic. I was ready, and surprisingly not very nervous.
They asked me a series of questions and I did my best to be as concise as possible. Afterwards we talked more about how they were even inspired to climb the mountains! They assured me it would be on the 9 and 10pm news that night, wished me well and just like that, it was over.
That night my mom and I snuggled up in our beds hours before the newscast just to be sure we wouldn’t miss a second. As the last TV show ended, and the news came on, my face flashed across the screen and mom and I looked at each other in awe and broke into giggles. It was amazing!! Previous to this, my goal was to simply be in the background of a newscast- now I was a feature!!
We had no idea what to expect from my interview. Even though the interview was more than an hour long, we knew there was the possibility of it only being a minute long. But right before the newscast would break for a commercial, they would say something to the effect of, “Stayed tuned” and talk about my story! I was the hook of the whole news hour!
Finally the time came for my story to be shown. I was so happy with what they had done with it and couldn’t believe how long they made it to be! There were just two things that I wished were different:
- I struggled with bulimia. They left that out and instead said exercise bulimia. If that were the case- this journey would have been very adverse to recovery as it was an excessive amount of exercise at times. While it is true that my eating disorder morphed from exercise bulimia to full blown bulimia, exercise currently is an area that I have a lot of balance in and was an area I was in control over before I left for my trip. There were comments on the news page specifically talking about this and while it’s disappointing, I know that I just need to keep pressing forward and know that I’m becoming more free of this disease!
- They left out the spiritual aspect of my journey 😦 While I know that people will experience God through my blog, I wish they would have left in how important He was on my journey because I sincerely couldn’t have done this without Him and the doors He opened for me.
The very next day I heard from people back in Minnesota that my story was on Kare11 news! Then a week later I heard I was in the Denver Post! Overall, it was an incredible experience that has left me with an insatiable hunger to want to serve God and to serve others by being a voice of hope. Many of you have voiced that I should write a book and that’s what I plan to do! I am so excited for this next part of my journey but also know it will prove to be another test in my recovery as I’m sure the process could cause stress which I’m still learning to deal with in healthy ways. God bless you and thank you for your encouragement!
- Height: 14,229 ft.
- Range: Sawatch Range
- Route: East Slopes
- Distance: 9.25 miles
- Elevation Gain: 4,600 ft.
- Time to Summit: 3 hours and 20 minutes
- Time to Descent: 2 hours and 30 minutes
- GEAR (to bring):
- GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks, long-sleeve, wind-guard, light weight puffy coat (I didn’t have to use it), day pack with water sack, food, sunscreen, lip balm.
Most memorable hike thus far, hands down. It all started on route to the Shavano Trailhead. As I mentioned at the end of my previous post, I was meeting up with a guy that I had met on Tinder. I thought, surely I could find someone willing to climb with me. Everyone likes company! Brett was his name, and I wasn’t going to allow him to remember me as the stinky girl from Minnesota, so I stopped at an RV camp nearby and snuck into their camp showers. It was amazing. A wonderful, hot, steamy shower… so worth it- and I didn’t get caught.
The most beautiful landscape met me on the turn off towards Mt. Shavano. I felt like I was transferred into a magnificent painting. An intense storm had just come through the valley and the clouds were weaving in and out of the mountains. You couldn’t see past the mountains that were in the forefront. It looked like a glowing invitation into heaven. The flowers were breathtakingly beautiful. All more vibrant and bright from the fresh water of the storms. I couldn’t help but think of “The Sound of Music”. This field, perhaps even more worthy of song, than the hills of Ireland. I wanted to stay, but I had company waiting for me!
The road was bumpy, but not as bad as Grays and Torreys and I was grateful for my little car. Soon I came up to the trailhead and saw a friendly face waving me hello. It was Brett. Strangely, because I had no expectation, I had no nerves at all. That night we had a blast getting to know each other and telling each other ghost stories around the fire. He had promised me beer upon arrival and somehow picked the perfect one. “Princess Yum Yum”. That’s me: A silly, girly girl. We even played with sparklers in our chairs in anticipation for the 4th of July and sprinkled magical powder in the fire that would make anyone believe they were on LSD. Brett had never had a s’more with peanut butter so I made sure that happened and with happy tummies, we went our separate ways to our tents for a temporary rest.
It was comical that our tents were right outside a cattle farm so for a time we listened to them moo with anguish; knowing that they would soon, in time become the delicious patty on my Baconator. Brett filled me in that if he was missing from his tent, he was down there with his rifle to shut them up. A while later we heard an owl hooooing nearby. It was nearly if not a full moon and the sound was hauntingly beautiful.
I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 3:30am. Apparently a demon cow had visited around 2am. Brett couldn’t believe that I didn’t hear it. To my surprise, I had slept better than him. I did my girly things like putting on mascara, and soon we were on the trail by 4:40am. This was Brett’s first mountain of the summer, but I wouldn’t have known otherwise. He was moving fast. We had our headlamps on to start us off and immediately noticed fresh bear poop on the trail. I would have been scared to death to know one was that close to me if I were alone, but with company, with Brett, we just laughed it off at how huge and watery it was.
Soon I noticed the trees were a firey orange. I had no idea how intense and beautiful the sunrise was going to be once we reached the other side of the ridge. It was one of the most captivating sunrises I had ever seen. I tried to snap a picture, but it didn’t even come close to capturing the beauty. It was as if God was saying, this is just for you. A moment in time, that even man made cameras cannot capture.
I was already dying at the treeline asking Brett how high we were. Moving at a faster pace than I was used to left me nauseous and gripping my knees for air. I also hadn’t realized that when I agreed to meet up with Brett, we’d be attempting to climb both Shavano and Tabegauche. I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to do it. I just did two the day before! Slowly but surely we made it up the giant valley. I didn’t expect to feel so vulnerable hiking with Brett. I was so happy for the company, but embarrassed by my huffing and puffing, stops for air and feelings of nausea. Not to mention the constant nose dripping. You kind of want anyone you first meet to think your superhuman and nothing short of amazing.
Treatment had taught me that vulnerability is one of the most beautiful things you can experience in life. Although it’s hard to do, it’s what allows connection and belonging. No one can be strong all the time. People know that you don’t want to show it, so when you do, it’s special.
As we climbed closer and closer to the top, we could see the clouds were changing. We had to hustle. It’s one thing to see the clouds coming at you, but it’s another when the clouds are coming from the other side of the mountain like they were. You can’t see what’s coming or how bad it really is. The people that were heading down were warning us to hurry back down as quickly as possible in means to not become a statistic- so much for Tabegauche. Part of me was sad, but my body was feeling fortunate for the menacing clouds.
Finally, we had made the summit. The clouds were ominous, and it was cold- to the point where neither Brett or I could feel our fingers and were having problems un-clipping our bags and working a camera. We took pictures as quickly as we could and a second after we snapped our “selfie”, a crack of thunder sounded. That was the alarm to get the F*@$ out of there.
I said a prayer to God as we started to sprint down the mountain as fast as we could. At first we descended large boulders skipping and jumping. To my surprise I heard Brett slip and he fell rib first into a boulder. His wind was knocked out of him. I was concerned if he was okay, one, and two if we were going to still be able to get down to safety quickly enough to avoid being struck by lightening.
A few moments past, and Brett recovered, but pebble sized hail started to pelt us. I was glad I was wearing pants, but Brett’s legs were getting the worst of it. We deviated from the path as means to get down as quickly as possible. We were sliding down the scree (small pebbles of rocks) portion of mountain for a good thousand feet. My legs were already dead tired from the ascent and now they were being pushed to their limits. Several times my ankles gave out on the way down. We kept running down the trail until the hail stopped and the lightening had ceased. Finally, we were in the treeline. If the good Lord wanted to smite us, he had every right to, but he spared us, and many others that day.
By the time we were only a couple hundred feet down in the treeline, the skies cleared. Brett admitted his disappointment, but I assured him we did the right thing and thanked him for pushing me otherwise we would have been in bigger trouble or would have not reached it at all. I told him he could go back up if he wanted, but I think we both knew Tabegauche would have to be saved for another day.
Once we got back to our campsite, I helped him take down his tent and we ate a little lunch before he had to take off. Our adventure was over, and I was sad that it was almost time for him to go. I gave him a hug and we assured one another that we would attempt Tabegauche another day together and others. We were officially hiking buddies (One the weekend. Some people have to work.) It was so quiet when he left, something I still need to get used to and better at handling. I crawled in my tent only to have two more storms roll through while I napped. Brett was happy at the news, and so was I. It just wouldn’t be fair to reward the late starters with being able to do both mountains when we got up at 3:30am! I will have to re-climb Mt. Shavano in order to climb Tabegauche- something I didn’t really see coming this trip, but at least I won’t be alone doing it.