Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Day things could have gone really bad at the family reunion

Growing up, we often drove to Brainard Lake and hiked up to Lake Mitchell.  There was often a group who also went to Blue Lake.   The hike to Lake Mitchell is about a mile and to Blue Lake it is three miles.  There is a true "trail" to it but it is still very rugged.  After the hike, we always ate lunch.

For the last three family reunions that have been held in Colorado, we always do this hike.  For the little kids, we always hike just to Lake Mitchell and the older kids always press on to Blue Lake.  There is also always a small group who get up early and try and make the assent to Mount Toll.  There is always a "story" that goes along with that group.  Usually someone gets altitude sickness or one year, they were sliding down glaciers and my nephew almost fell off of one, etc.    

Well, this year, we all got into a little bit (OK, a lot bit) of trouble but thankfully, it was all fine in the end.  

Like most of these stories, there were problems from the beginning that foreshadowed trouble ahead.  The Mount Toll group got a late start as well as the Lake Mitchell and Blue Lake groups.  We had read that we needed to be down the mountain by 1:00 pm because of afternoon thundershowers and we planned on starting our hike at 10:00 am.  We didn't even start the hike until about 11:30 am.  

Me with my sisters.

The hike to Lake Mitchell was very fast and easy.  So easy, that we all decided to press onto Blue Lake, even though that was not the original plan.  I was a little concerned about Toothsome #4 making it all the way to Blue Lake but my older nephews (ages 14-24), said, "We will help carry any of your kids if you come with us."  

Me with my kids and nephew.  
(Dentist Husband had flown back to Utah that morning to work.) 

Toothsome #4 immediately decided that she would ONLY hold hands with my nephew's wife, who thankfully was very accommodating.  (We really don't deserved her in our family.  She is wonderful.)  

As we got closer to Blue Lake, the hike got harder (steeper and more rocky).

Blue Lake  
It started to get over-cast within minutes of us all arriving.

We have an "all the way under" club.  They wear their swim suits and then jump in.  It doesn't count unless they go "all the way under".  Three of my nephews "joined" this year.  My son was close to doing it but it had started to rain . . .

Within moments after my above nephew jumped in, it started to lightly rain.  I knew with my little kids, that it would take us longer than the others to climb down the mountain (3 miles down), so we left immediately.  It then started to hail and a short time later, thunder and lightening with very few pauses between.  The outside temperature dropped quickly and I had planned poorly and only Toothsome #1 and I brought sweatshirts.  We were cold.  

About 10 minutes down, my older nephews came running down the trail.  One grabbed Toothsome #3 and one grabbed grabbed Toothsome #4.  They yelled (over the loud clapping thunder), "This is dangerous and we are getting everyone off the mountain."  And, we all started running.  It was now a muddy, swampy, mountain.  It was very hard to see the trail and at times, the hail was hard and painful.  We kept running and trying to distract the younger kids, who were obviously scared.  

Thankfully, we all made it down safely and into our car. We were covered in mud and soaked through. 

Taken from my car.  

 Me soaking wet.  

The Mount Toll group had a much more harrowing experience.  At one point, all of their hair started to "crackle" and stand up.  They ended up hiding in a rock cave for over an hour and then when the hail let up, hiking down in the rain.  They didn't get back until after 7:00 pm.

That night, we were exhausted, hungry and sore.  (Several people in our group, fell and slipped on the muddy trail and had somewhat big gashes on their legs.)  So, we headed to The Gondolier on Pearl.  Honestly, the BEST homemade pasta and spicy marinara sauce I've ever eaten.  And, for $8 it is all you can eat.  And, if you want to shoot the lock off your wallet, ($10) their mussels are 2nd to none and worth every penny.  Oh, I am craving them now . . .

Thankfully, the rest of the reunion was less exciting.  


Paige said...

So fun!

Michelle said...

I'm really glad things worked out for the better and the pasta always helps me feel better when I've had a rough day!

Kari said...

Wow--rain is one thing, but the hail and lightning is no fun. Those storms roll in and you are simply at their mercy! This is a great tradition, though.