Twenty years ago, Memorial Day, my husband (my hiking buddy) and I went to RMNP. We were ready for summer and anxious to go hiking, one of our favorite things to do.
We loved RMNP and hiking and camping.
The hike we chose is called Lawn Lake. Starting elevation is 8540 ft.,
6.2 miles and is rated strenuous.
Prior to going, my husband brought home a pair of snow shoes. I teased him unmercifully...it was the end of May, for goodness sake!!! Summer!!! Camping was wonderful as usual. We were excited to start our hiking adventures for that year. We got up early, put on our hiking shorts and packed our backpacks with lunch and goodies and off we went.
It was early morning and the trail started off as usual. We hiked, enjoying the mountain morning, enjoying the trail and enjoying just being there.
As the day went on and as we gained in elevation, snow drifts dotted the trail. No problem...we just hiked right over them.
We continued on. The trail was now snow covered and the drifts became deeper. I was still simply hiking over them, but as the sun started warming up the day, my much heavier husband started punching thru in some places. We briefly talked about heading back down...but, my husband was an extremely adventurous man and he considered this simply an adventure to add our memories. Hiking soon became more difficult and my husband's every step punched thru. I continued to hike over the drifts with no problem. I was in the lead and started hearing some cussing from behind. I might mention here that "cussing" was considered an art form by my husband. His words could paint pictures in the most vivid of colors. We walked on and our wondrous adventure was being forever "colored" in our memories and I started laughing. Without turning around, I hiked onward...laughing! Finally...his words started becoming even too much for a wife to endure. I turned around...and to my horror, my husband had become the image of Jack Nicholson in the Shining! His hiking shorts had been pushed up by the snow drifts and gathered near his crotch, offering the tender skin vulnerable to each snow drift. The icy top part of each drift had started scratching his inner thigh. His face was red, he had become wild eyed, and his hair...OMG...his hair was standing straight up. It was Jack Torrance!!! He was stuck in a drift, with the snow pushing his hiking shorts even higher...and my laughter pushed him over the brink....He said, "I'm ball deep in snow, but if I ever get out of here, I'm gonna pinch you f'n head off!!!" He finally managed to get out of the drift. It was noonish, so we ate our packed lunch and decided it was probably time to head back down. Bummrrr...we weren't going to make it to Lawn Lake. We were going to call it a day and give up. This is when my husband decided to get off the trail and follow the river down. He had simply had all he could take of the drifts. I said, "NO! We're supposed to stay on the trails!" Getting off the trail was not smart. I'm thinking that this could quickly become a dangerous situation. He was adamant...and so was I. We both headed back down. He followed the river and me on the trail... It was now mid afternoon, the warming sun continued to weaken the drifts. It was now my turn to struggle with the drifts. I fell a couple of times as I punched my way through each drift. Finally, I fell, and "OUCH!" I thought...that really hurt. Pain engulfed my right foot and that's when I knew...it's broken... Lucky for me, snow packed my boot, keeping it from swelling. I found a hiking stick and continued down, limping and fighting drifts. Late afternoon, I made it...sat on the nearest bench and took my boot off. My poor foot swelled and from that point on, I was unable to walk on it. My husband came off the trail about an hour later. The mountains beat us both. We were exhausted and still needed to tend to my broken foot. It was too swollen to put in a cast. That would be done later, back in KC after some of the swelling had gone down. We went from hiking to sightseeing at that point. And, because of my broken foot, we even got to see things we normally wouldn't have taken time out from hiking to go visit. You know...believe it or not, this "memory" is still vivid...and treasured. In memory of my husband, Ron...! I miss you!