October 10, 2011 at 1:21 PM

First Snow Mountain Hike

A poem and some afterthoughts

By Mary MacIntyre

Poetically Hungry

Mary MacIntyre writes incessantly, is an avid photographer, and a classic health food nut.

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Imagine you are high in the mountains,
the sky holds many dark clouds,
and although it is early fall,
the air's cold blasts
speak winter's stories.

You are here to hike.
You have a warm jacket and a scarf.
Snow starts lightly falling. Aspen's golden leaves
sparkle beside still green leaves
nests of snow cluster on fir branches.

You hesitate.  Should I venture forth
on this trail?  Will I be safe?

Peace fills your lungs. Instantly oneness flow through you
as easily as tap reaches treetops.  Everything here resonates
as one and answers with a glad yes!

You begin your adventure taking your first step
into icy slushy snow on slippery rocks.
A hiker informs you that it is tough at first,
but it gets better down away's.  Be safe and don't
get discouraged.

The forest holds secrets in it's silence.
Small steps demand complete focus until
confidence grows.  The descent is steep.
Glancing to the left you seem to be almost level
to aspen treetops stretching as far as you can see in both directions
laughter escapes from your mouth and echoes from ridge to ridge.

The trail is narrow and the canyon's edge
cascades quickly. Sun breaks through the clouds.
The journey takes hours and fills with spectacular moments.
A walking stick by a rock to help you cross the river.  You leave it on the other side for another hiker.

Another walking stick appears before a step ascent.
Sun later warms your back. This is New Mexico magic
available for free, when you are ready.

Although a solo adventure like this provides deep satisfaction, I suggest being better equipped and prepared. Have gloves, warm shoes, walking stick, snacks and water.  Ideally, let someone know where you are going. Ice cleats and walking trekkers also would aid the hiker.  Be certain to go early enough to get back before dark (this hiker did do that) and be prepared in case you need to reduce your gait. Get information if possible regarding conditions before the hike. Two inches of fresh snow over the ice packed trail would dramatically increase the danger level.

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