$ 3,820 109% $ 3,500  
 
 
 
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COLLECTED:
$3,820.00
GOAL: $3,500.00

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Donna's Mission: Find a Cure for Blood Cancers and Get Healthy!!

I'm doing the work but YOU are making the difference!

I should have a picture here from the Grand Canyon but I love this picture. This is atop the saddle at Santa Fe Baldy. An absolutely gorgeous place. There is something in my posture and face that I haven't seen in a long time; happiness, joy, satisfa
Hebrews 12:12-13 - Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Welcome to my Hike for Discovery home page!

Hike For Discovery is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's adventure fundraising program that prepares people to experience a natural wonder in a special way. While I'm training, I'm raising funds to help the Society cure leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 712,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. Your support of my participation in Hike For Discovery will help bring them hope and support. Please make a donation to support my participation in Hike for Discovery and help advance the Society's mission. I hope you'll visit my web site often, so that you can see how my training and fundraising efforts are going. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thanks for your support!

Donors have been sending me names of those they would like to honor. These include the names of those who have had cancer and are still with us and those who have passed on. The following names were provided by donors, not myself:

Mack Weaver, Edith Coleman, Ella Sheumaker, Allen Coleman, brother of Ben Sheumaker, George James, Lydia Armstrong, H. Frazier, D. Gee, Sharon Stowe, Carl Whitis, Jake Meyer, Pat Anderson, Laurel Sorlie, Rose Williams, Julian Williams, Kirby Schofield, Adelaide Hanson, Barbara Stapp, Don Horney, Mary Frances Fuller, Irma Bryan, George James, Calesia Cole, Jayme Westerfield, Patricia Anderson, Sheila Light, Allan Light, Melba Luna, Dr. Don Horney, Dr. Jack Kamps, Calesia Cole, Katy Thompson, Judy Den Bleyker, Nancy P. McCormick, Esther Powelson, Pete Jones, Janet Madely, Monica Steward, Barbara Paredes, Justin, Jeff Persell, and Bobby Persell. Thanks to all of the donors for remembering your loved ones. To those that are still with us, “Keep up the good Fight!”

* I will be wearing tags with the names of the above mentioned people on my hike to the Grand Canyon!

How I came to participate in Hike for Discovery

As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August 2005. I am fortunate that I have no significantly debilitating symptoms at this time. As mot of you also know, I have been overweight and out of shape for many years. With my current diagnosis it became vital that I make some serious changes. In January, I made a two year commitment to myself to get healthy and fit. I knew I had to make some changes in order to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. As of a few days ago, I have lost a total of 51 pounds with 19 more to go! In addition to dieting, I had taken up power walking. I walk between 3.5 and 4.5 miles, four days a week. I then realized that I wanted to do something even more challenging. I also began to feel the need for more social interaction. I decided that hiking/backpacking was the direction I wanted to go.

In my search for a hiking club I met some people who work for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society provides funding and services for all aspects of fighting blood cancers. One of the fundraising activities organized by the society is the Hike for Discovery program. Through Hike for Discovery, I am training for a hike in the Grand Canyon on Saturday, October 5, 2007. Several hikes of varying levels of difficulty are planned, and I am planning to hike The Grandview Trail (the most challenging), a 6.4 mile round trip hike. Until the big day I will be hiking trails from 1.5 to 15.5 miles in length to get in shape. I will be hiking every Sunday and most Wednesday’s as well.

I am asking for your support. In donating to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society you will be helping those who are directly impacted by the disease and you will also assist me in my commitment to get fit and healthy. I have made a pledge to raise $4000 for the society. I would greatly appreciate your assistance in this venture.

Sincerely,

Donna J. James

Training Itinerary:

6/3/07 1.5 miles Round Trip Rinconada Canyon/Petroglyph National Monument

This was a very nice walk. The soil is very sandy in places, making for some good calf muscle training. The rocks and the valley are beautiful. I was able to get finished in time for church. I dont' know if that will happen every Sunday. I have already met a couple of very nice people. Dolores is my mentor. Marilyn and I met at the orientation meeting. I am sure you will be hearing more about both ladies over the next few months.

6/10/07 2.5 miles Round Trip Tent Rocks

What a gorgeous hike. I would highly recommend this hike to anyone. The views and the tent shaped piers are beautiful. The hike was fairly easy with the exception of a short climb up to the top of the mesa. As we were coming down, I came upon a couple of men manhandling a very heavy pack down a steep ledge. The pack was weighted for training pusposes. I asked the man carrying the pack how much his packed weighed. He replied, "47 pounds". It really brought home how far I have come. I had lost that much weight, plus. I couldn't imagine having to carry that weight up and down the mountains. It was kind of shocking. I met a number of people on this trip. Richard is a veterinarian, hoping to help in the cure of blood diseases, one of the highest killers of pets. Phyllis is a hospice nurse. She had awake since 1:30 that morning, assisting her clients. Anna is a hydrologist here in Albuquerque. Kirsten has been working with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a number of years. Her mother-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia only last fall.

One word of advice to people going for a hike...take a little food and water. It was amazing how many groups of people were heading up the mesa with a half bottle of water or none at all. One group of 7 people had 1/2 bottle of water for all of them. I dranki about 1.5 liters. :) Take care and I hope you will return each week!

6/17/07 2.5 miles Round Trip Sulphur Springs/Bill Spring Trail

Sunday hike: We had a very nice hike today in the Sandia's. Around 4.5 miles. One of the ladies had an altimeter watch on. We hiked a total positive elevation of just over 1000 ft. Not bad for a short hike. We left at 6:45 from the meeting point so it was a long day but we were glad once we got up to the trailhead. It was a beautiful morning. The trailhead started at the Doc Long Picnic area. Beautiful, mountainous terrain. Just what you would want. There were numerous small and larger creeks through out the trail. It was difficult to stop and enjoy much of the scenery due to the roughness of parts of the trail. I kept finding myself looking down. Remember, look up as much as you can! I got reprimanded last week for falling behind to take pictures. Not so many pictures today but I stayed right at the front and was told to lead, they could tell I was restless. :) One of my hiking buddies gave me a huge compliment, he probably doesn't even know it! He told me I was a mountain goat. OK...probably not a compliment in normal life but I feel I have come a long way in the past year.

6/24/07 3.0 miles Round Trip Windsor Trail/Tesuque Creek

While Hike for Discovery was scheduled to hike the Windsor Trail/Tesuque Creek area in Santa Fe, I was on my trip to Missouri for the Anderson Family reunion. I had planned to find a nice hiking trail, instead I found a golf course and golfed 18 holes. That could count, couldn't it? We had a great time. I took my pedometer. It read 4.3 miles; I think that was quite generous. I walked as much as I possibly could without holding up my Uncle Carl and Uncle John. Maybe more like 2.5-3.0 miles. But...it was hot. Does that count. Anyway, I golfed well for someone who plays a round about once every year or two. Most importantly, I got to spend a few hours with my uncles. Uncle John lives in southern California with my Aunt Sandra. Hi John and Sandra! Uncle Carl moved to North Carolina about 3 years ago after spending about 30 years in Hawaii with my Aunt Pat and Cousins Karen and Barbara. Hi guys! They all live in the Raleigh area now. Let's just say I had fund and I don’t think they were too exasperated by my play. They were quite helpful and I learned a number of good tips that I have every intention of practicing. We'll see. Carl...John...thank you so much for a great time. :)

7/1/07 Buddy Hike – hiker’s option

Windsor's Trail/Tesuque Creek 5.5 miles

I was not suppose to get back to Rio Rancho until after July 1st but I got anxious to get home and made it back in time to drop by the REI sale on Saturday morning, then I went on home. Priorities. So, I was able to join Anjie and Nina for the Buddy Hike. Nina was able to make the Windsor Trail hike the previous Sunday so Anjie and I joined her to make it up. This trail is off the Northwestern edge of Santa Fe, just past 10,000 Waves (a very nice spa, I picked up a pamphlet). The designed hike was 4.5 miles. We hiked in an additional 1/2 mile, so we completed 5.5 miles. I had one of the best times ever on this hike. I had met Angie on a Wednesday hike a couple of weeks ago. The three of us had a wonderful time visiting and hiking. But...the first 3/4 mile of the hike was a butt-kicker. It goes straight up for 3/4 of a mile. When I say straight up, I mean it. I just knew we would eventually come to a flat section to recuperate; didn't happen. The hike was beautiful when I stopped but on a trail like that you don't really want to stop. It is easier just to push and push. So...the hard work paid off, eventually. The trail is set in beautiful pine and oak. We saw wild strawberry patches everywhere. We say only one tiny strawberry, I would have picked it but it was still white on the back side. Someone else will probably get to "enjoy" it. When I say tiny...about the size of a small pea. The end of the main trail was at an intersection next to Tesuque Creek; absolutely gorgeous. It was like a thick jungle. We were looking for bears, at least Nina and I were. Anjie-not so much. We all felt well, even after 2.5 miles at that time, so we decided to go a little bit further. Last weeks hikers missed some beautiful scenery. At this point the hike turned into gorgeous meadows. Tall grasses and boulders. The breezes were great; it was cool the whole way. I have to add, once again, that while the hike was both challenging and exhilarating, the company and conversation that day was what I will remember the most.

Anjie and Nina: Thank you so much for a wonder day. Also, it was Anjie's birthday that day, so we stopped at the Blue Corn Cafe in Santa Fe. I had ONE chile relleno thank you very much. No beans or rice. With red chile. A few chips with salsa and more than one bite of chocolate cake/chocolate syrup/ice cream. It was great!

7/8/07 4-5 miles Round Trip Faulty Trail

Can we say “Re-deux”? I did the same 5.5 mile trail twice this week. What is the saying? It was so nice, let’s do it twice? No? Anyway…July 4th was on a Wednesday. We hike on Wednesday’s and Sundays. No one wants to hike on the evening of the 4th so we did a hike that morning. When I say morning, I mean morning. The alarm went off at 4:45 am. ? Not happy. I had to be at Starbuck’s (no, not for coffee; that is our meeting place for hiking in the Sandia Mountains) at 6:15. It is a 45 minute drive from my house. I am earning my money! I hope I am making all of you proud. The Trail, off Arrowhead Trailhead, is a 5.5 miles circular hike. On Wednesday, we went counter clockwise. It got the hard part out of the way first, that is good. But then…it got the hard part out of the way first. When you get up at 4:45 in the morning, you aren’t in the mood to attack a mountain. Walking to the car is difficult enough. Also, I was a bad girl and didn’t go to bed until 11:15. I digress. The total elevation is around 1200 feet. This isn’t really that bad for 5.5 miles but you can feel it. Also, the rocks! The trail is well maintained but someone’s idea of well maintained includes raking a bunch of rocks onto the path. Okay, you are guessing, I didn’t really like this hike too much. Very few views, I am including one of the 2 views in my weekly photo. On top of few views, the rocks kept your head down so you don’t really even get a good look at what is immediately around you. You can imagine my joy at being told that the Sunday hike was being changed too…the same hike as Wednesday, only in reversed. So…I got to not see exactly the same thing in reverse order.

Again, the highlight of the hiking is the people. Great bunch of people. Rachel and I got to visit quite a bit. I have just purchased a very nice used bike (Specialized, S-works). She bikes a little. I am hoping for a bike buddy. I have to say, if you can’t tell already, that I am getting into this exercise thing. If you ever knew me, I HATED exercise. I could play volleyball or basketball for hours but ask me to do something because it was good for me? I don’t think so! I still don’t ever see myself running but the walking/hiking/biking thing seems to work for me. It has a point, I guess. Henry is a young man, also participating in the Hike for Discovery program. Kudos to Henry, he is active duty National Guard. Nice to see our military people out and about. It puts a face on our men and women in the military. On Sunday, I got to visit a little more with Rachel. Angela was the leader, I was trying hard to stay at the front. But when we stopped I had to take care of a little blister. I got left behind! I walked alone for about ½ mile and I was scared! Not really. I did get back up to the front. I always want to finish first.

I went to the local newspaper today and talked to the editor. I asked her if she could do piece on me. Bold? Guess what? She said yes! So, if it all actually happens, Sunday July 22nd or July 29th, I should be featured in the paper. If that happens, I will send you a link. Take care and thanks again for all of your support!

7/15/07 8.5 miles Round Trip Bandelier: Upper/Lower Fall, Frijoles Canyon

Wednesday Hike, 7/11/07: Hello! Happy Sunday. I had a very busy and active week. Wednesday’s hike was a beautiful and, in many ways, a triumphant hike. We hiked a short 3.0 mile round trip hike up Piedra Lisa Trail; this is just north of the base of the Tramway. The hike is partially on a road and then hits the trail about ½ a mile int. The actual hike is up and up and up, steadily increasing to the end of the trail. We stopped just short of the end after one of my fellow hiker’s spotted a forest fire. A rainstorm had come through the area right before we started hiking and it appeared that lightening had caught a tree on fire. The descent was my triumph. I ran/jogged all the way back to the road! It was such freedom as I have not felt in a very long time. I feel my youth and health returning as never before. Weight loss as of Monday? 61.5 pounds!

Sunday Hike, Bandelier National Monument, 7/15/07: This was my favorite hike to date. It was about 8.5 miles long and I loved it! The hike starts at the highest point, in the original parking lot, about 1.5 miles from the visitor’s center. The hike goes to the visitor’s center and on for another 2.5 miles down to the Rio Grande. We got to see just about every type of flora and fauna on this hike. Cool green meadows, pine trees, deep canyons, high desert vistas, streams, waterfalls, it was such an experience. If you are not able to hike the whole trail, I fully recommend that you hike the 5.0 round trip hike from the visitor’s center to the Rio Grande and back. You will not regret it! There is also a great sense of camaraderie amongst the hiker’s at this point. We really enjoy each other’s company and our leaders are great people. They like people and they love doing what they are doing. I would list their names but I know I will forget someone.

This week has been exhausting. My new baby has arrived, a “new” used Synchronized S-Works bike! I have gone for 3 good rides on top of my regular walking/hiking schedule. I exercised once to twice a day from Monday through Sunday. Today, I crashed. I thought I had eaten well during and after yesterday’s hike but I felt it today. I ate three times before my hunger pains went away. I liked the eating but I was pretty sick. I finally got a nap around 4:00 and by 8:00 was finally starting to recover. I have never exercised enough to have these experiences. I hope you are enjoying these “blogs”. I would appreciate it if you would drop me a line. I am not really sure that anyone is reading any of this. If not, well, I guess it is a great writing experience. Have a great week!

7/22/07 9 miles Round Trip Pino Trail

This was a great trail but...it was HARD! We were running a timed hike this morning. We had from 8:00 am until 10:15 to make it to the top/ I wasn't really that worried. 4.5 miles in 2.25 hours? No problem. Duh! This hike was flat for the first 1/2 mile then it went UP! It was an up elevation hike for almost all of the 4.5 miles. Only 6 of 25 or so of us made it to the top. I was the last of the 6. We had very strict orders to turn around at 10:15. I made it to the top at 10:13. I headed back at 10:20. I got a small tongue lashing for not leaving immediately at 10:15. I had to get some water and raisens. I had to take a couple of pictures. The Pino trail ends at a point where you can see both sides of the Sandia Mountains. You can see Albuquerque below you to the west and Moriarty/Edgewood below you to the east. Great view. Then...the race was on. I was the last one on the trail and I had to catch up to those ahead of me so I wouldn't be the one that held all of us up. I jogged/ran about 1/2 to 3/4 mile to get caught up. It was all good.

The hike down was miserable. I don't think I have been this miserable on a hike. I got blisters on both heals. My left foot hurt, the ball of my right foot hurt. My right hip was killing me all the way up and back and my stomach wasn't feeling very well either. At any rate, it was great. I got up early and did more than most people will do all week. 9 MILES!

7/29/07 7 miles Round Trip Nambe Lake

All I can say is WOW! This was a hike in the true sense of the word. We hiked a total of 7.0 miles to Nambe Lake, a beautiful, small glacier lake up in the Santa Fe Ski Basin area. The hike was beautiful, not too difficult but it had its challenges. There were a number of sections of the hike that were at least a 30 degree gradient. The mountains are beautiful, the trees are tall and numerous. We went through numerous groves of varying types of trees. Different types of furs and pine. There are a lot of aspens in the area as well. The real story of the hike was the rain! We got rained on the whole way back, about 90 minutes worth. Not real heavy but we all learned a lesson on rain gear, what worked and what didn’t. I thought my long sleeved shirt was waterproof, it isn’t. My Raiders hat was soaked. I now realize why I need to spend the money on a waterproof hat. I felt good, my arms were the coldest but my hands stayed warm. Oops, I thought they stayed warm, they weren’t. I couldn’t really use my hands or arms very efficiently for about 15 minutes after we returned. My hands didn’t really feel cold, that is what was so weird. Maybe a new MS experience. Hmmm.

Nambe Lake was beautiful. It isn’t very large but it was totally still. The large rocks and boulders that surrounded the lake were impressive. I saw a new animal, new to me; a Pica (not sure of spelling). They were everywhere and made an interesting chirping sound. I am not sure what kind of an animal they are. I was told a mammal. I got to see Columbine for the first time. Gorgeous meadows, streams, flowers and views. It was a great hike.

When we returned we were treated to a wonderful luncheon by a family from Albuquerque. I jokingly asked them what was for lunch. ? They insisted we come over and eat. I was kind of embarrassed until I saw how much food they had and…they had already eaten. We were fed sausages, bbq ribs, bbq chicken, pound cake, potato salad, seafood salad, cole slaw, green chili tortilla rolls, pastry’s, and…..oh yeah, the guys got beer! It was a treat.

Hike for Discovery has been a wonderful experience due to the people I have met and continue to meet.

8/4/07 Buddy Hike – Windsor Tail – 11 miles Round Trip

This week was a hiker’s option. My friend Mark Henry called from Gallup early in the week asking if I was interested in going for a hike this weekend. Perfect timing, I didn’t want to join the hiking group to hike Nambe Lake for a second week in a row. Little did I know I would be re-hiking parts of the trail. Mark wanted to hike Windsor Trail to the “Saddle”. The Nambe Lake Trail splits from this main trail. The Saddle hike is about 11 miles round-trip. Wile it is close to last weeks destination, the trial was very different. Last week’s trail had a lot of sections that were very steep. This hike started up, went down for about 2 miles then went up for about 2 miles. The view at the Saddle was one of the most beautiful places I have every visited. It tops at a huge mesa/meadow. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy the scenery for more than about 30 seconds. As soon as we hit the top, almos right on cue, a hug lightening strike hit about 200 yards from us. The only trees on the top of the mesa were the 2 of us so we got out very fast!

We were both exhausted. Oh…I forgot, Mark was joined by his dog, Penny. She is a joy to be around. I really enjoyed getting to see both of them! Anyway, we ended the day by eating a couple of tacos at Baja Taco in Santa Fe. A great little joint if you ever get the chance. I would give you directions but I don’t really have a clue where we were. ?

8/12/07 8.5 miles Round Trip Cienega-North Crest-Canyoncito-Faulty

Boy did this day just go all wrong. :( I have been running on about 6 hours of sleep a night for about 2 weeks. The fundraising is just way more time consuming than I could have ever imagined! Anyway, I got to bed last night at about 11:45. That was after getting to bed at 1:15 am on Thursday and 12:15 on Friday night. I slept through the alarm clock this morning. Don't even remember hearing it go off but apparently it did. I woke up at 6:15. I was supposed to be out of the house at 6:00 am to meet at 6:30. I had to drive myself to the trailhead. I did get to eat my bagel that is a very important part of my Sunday morning hiking routine. So it wasn't all bad.

I am not real fond of hiking in the mornings in the East Mountains, the sun hits you at 6:00 and doesn't stop. I felt pretty fatigued early on, that is normal until I get warmed up but I just didn't seem to ever get my legs this morning. I completed 95% of the hike but just couldn't get to the top. I stopped with Anjie and we had a picnic. I shared my cup-o-salmon and she shared her apples. We had a nice visit and were able to get caught up. The hike back down seemed so much shorter! Hmmm haven't figured that one out yet.

Deborah brought cookies and brownies. Tat was a nice treat and a nice end to the day. My resolution for the rest of the month...get to bed and get sleep each night. I am able to make that pledge and should be able to keep this resolution because I have almost completed all of my fundraising commitment. I have almost raised $3200.00! Just a little more to go. I have to say I am getting tired and need to take it easy for a couple of weeks. I need some sleep and I need to spend a lot let time fundraising. It is exhausting. How can you help?...make a donation on-line and buy me some sleep! Thanks and I hope everyone has a great week.

8/19/07 9 miles Round Trip Rio en Medio to Aspen Ranch

I think it is safe to say we all had a wonderful hike today. This hike, 8.4 miles round trip was flat for about 1.5 miles, hard for the next mile, then slight uphill to the turn around point. It was one of the most beautiful hikes we have been on. There were 2 very nice waterfalls and the hike borders a trail for the whole length. We ate fresh raspberries, saw a lot of flowers, green abounded! Our numbers were quite small this week. There were only about 10 hikers. It was a small intimate group. I had a very nice time visiting with some of the ladies I had never spent much time with before today. A shout goes out to Marlene and Liz. I got to spend some a very nice time visiting with Phyllis. We have been together since the beginning but haven't been able to visit much the last few weeks. We missed Richard today. Where were you?

If I haven't mentioned it before, one of the nicest aspects of hiking in the Santa Fe area is the number of male bicyclist on the trails. They are such handsome, nice young men. Today was no different. We ended the day by supporting one of the hikers at a fundraiser. We had to eat a green chile cheeseburger and drink a large drink. They had some of the best French Fries I have ever eaten. Did I tell you the lunch was at a biker hangout? It was actually a very nice atmosphere. I hope you all have a great week!

8/26/07 7.5 miles (up only) La Luz from base (Sandia Mtn.)

This hike was changed to the Embudito trail. I chose to hike the Diego Baca Trail with another group of people to visit the TWA crash site. The plane crashed into the side of the Sandia Mountains in 1955. This was one of the most beautiful hikes ever. While it is rated Moderate to Sever, it wasn't really any more difficult than hikes we have been doing so far. I hiked with a great bunch of "kids" from the New Mexico Wilderness Association (nmwild.org). This hike took place on Saturday. The greatest benefit was being able to attend church at Faith Evangelical Free Church on Sunday. Missing church has been very difficult but only a few more weeks!

9/2/07 Buddy Hike – hiker’s option Acoma is possible

I chose to go to Prewitt, NM to visit friends and attend the Bi-County Fair. I had a great weekend. I didn't exercise and ate too much. I also got to visit my church in Gallup, NM - Bethany Chrisitan Reformed Church and went to lunch with some very dear friends. I had a great weekend but had a couple pounds to lose the next week. Got that done and now am back on track!

9/9/07 TBD Pecos

We had a very nice hike this mornig, what there was of it. We met at 5:15 and off we went to the Pecos Wilderness, I have really been looking forward to this hike. Over 2 hours of driving up, we only got to hike about 4-5 miles and had to return. We were hiking up on the top of a large mesa and it was very overcast and started lightening. We all really felt like we only just got started with the hiking when we had to turn around. We had a great time visiting and checking in. We had a very nice sized group of hikers, more than we have had in a very long time. We had a nice trip back....not really much to say. I did get back in time to go to church! Sounds like a recurring theme? Yep, it has been hard. We had Burgers and Baptism. We had a very nice cookout and potluck (I brought homemade cole slaw). This was followed by a very nice baptismal ceremony of about 10 people. A very nice day!

9/16/07 Piedra Lisa Approximately 6 miles, RT

This trail/hike was the back side of an earlier hike completed on 7/11/07, the Piedra Lisa Trail. We hiked the south end of the Trail on a Wednesday hike back in July. This hike was the North end of the hike. What was most memorable was the change in flora/fauna on this hike. The Trailhead is at Placitas, NM. A small, very nice area. The hike starts in very typical northern NM desert. The hike was fairly warm, the trail was kind of rocky, not a lot of trees at first. We slowly transitioned to more rolling hills and light tree coverage. Very pretty. Not any water to speak of. The trail slowly climbed up to the "peak".If you continue down the other side, you end up at the trailhead for the south end; only about 1.5 miles further. The hallmark of this hike was the view from the top. There is such a magical view of the Sandia Mountains from this viewpoint, absolutely gorgeous.

We had a fairly small/intimate group on this hike. As we have gotten closer and closer to the Grand Canyon hike, and as fundraising deadlines hit, we have lost some friends. It was a very nice day. I got to spend time talking to Rachel while we ate our lunch and checked out feet. Overall, this hike is highly recommended. Some of us would like to try an up-and-over someday.

9/22/07 15 miles Round Trip La Luz down-up

This is the hike we having been training for all season! This is it. You can imagine our disappointment when we realized we would not be doing the whole trail! Such frustration. We started our hike at the peak and went down approximately 4-4.5 miles and went back up...yawn! Not really...here is the story:

We have heard, all season, how hard, rocky, difficult, challenging, etc. this hike is. What everyone failed to mention is how GORGEOUS and MAJESTIC this trail is. It has to be the most gorgeous of all the hikes. The valley's, rocky peaks, tall trees; it is just indescribable. We were truly disappointed that we did not complete the whole trail but we will be back!

We completed the most difficult portion of the trail, by starting at the top. The trail goes down and goes, and goes, and goes. A great deal of the upper portion of the trail is through rock slides. These aren't small rock slides. Some of the rocks are as big as cars. The switchbacks through this section are long but do-able. The middle section involves more mountain terrain but never a whole lot of tree coverage. We stopped at our turnaround point and ate snacks/lunches. The group seemed to be much more relaxed on this trip. People were spead out over the trail. Richard and I hiked most of the way up alone. Great conversation. That has to be the hallmark for this experience. Getting to know people I would have never met otherwise. Richard, it was great!

So, despite the disappointment in not being able to brag that I had done the La Luz Trail, it was wonderful. I will be back and not very long from now.

9/30/07 14.7 miles Round Trip Santa Fe Baldy via Windsor Trail/Aspen Grove

Now, this is the hike that kicked everyone's butt. I had hiked this trail a number of weeks ago with my frined Mark. It is truly a great long distance hike. It is about 12 miles roundtrip to the "saddle". From the saddle you can go up to Santa Fe Baldy or down to Lake Katherine. I have heard about Lake Katherine for years. It is hard to believe that I was almost there. I am amazed, again and again, at how far I have come. My body feels strong. My mind is clear. I have become one of those people that is able to hike to tiny lakes in the mountains that are only accessible by hikers! It is an amazing thing. I give God all of the credit. I could not have done this on my own. Mt. Baldy is a fairly challenging hike. Mostly because it is so far but also because you start going UP for the first 3/4 mile and then you slowly descend until you have lost all of that elevation gain. Then, you have to go back up. Remember this is Santa Fe Baldy, which means you are at the top. This particular day was difficult because it was quite cold and extremely windy. We did well until we got to the saddle. Actually, I should say, I did well until I got to the saddle. About 6 of the hikers continued up to the Baldy portion of Sante Fe Baldy. All I could see was the open area, totally exposed to the wind (had to be 50 mile an hour gusts) and it was cold. I just decided, "nope", ain't doing it. So, I started down. Walk slowly and wiat for people to catch up. I did some hiking with Louella and Rick. After we caught up to Anjie, Angie and I walked together. Again, the best part has been getting to know people. I have to give it to the hikers that went on to the top. The hike to the top is a very difficult 1.5 miles or so. Probably the most difficult hiking stretch of the season. You are in the open, the wind was horrible, it was terribly cold, and the elevation gain is huge. Great job! Now...see you in the Canyon!

10/5-7/07 6.4 miles Round Trip Grand Canyon – 2600’ elevation loss/gain

What can I say...this past four months has changed my life. I have regained a sense of strength and power. I have rediscovered my youth. I was afraid I would always be what I had become. I wish I could tell you about the Canyon. All I can say is talk to me. I would love to share my experience. The result of the hike? I am going to continue hiking. I will return to the Canyon. And....I am planning longer trips, backpacking trips and, God willing, a few weeks on the Appalachia Trail in the summer of 2009. That has been a dream of mine for about 10 years, I just could never see how that would be possible. It is. Please know that, through God, all things are possible through Jesus Christ our Savior. I give all credit and glory to my Savior and God. It was not me but Him. Signing out, Donna (otherwise, now known as D Double J!)