Saturday, June 16, 2018


Climbing one-and one.  Climbed Petit, Saber,  Sharkstooth this day.  Dropped one shoe between Petit and Saber.  Carry-on

It seems ridiculous that I haven't used my legs in half of a year.  What an odd phenomenon this injury is.  Legs, still in tact... still having muscles that respond to stimulation, muscles that even move on their own involuntarily.

My brain and its positivity are directly associated with my nerve pain.  When that shits off the hook so are my emotions.  I am not as engaged in conversation, grumpier.  I think my physical coping mechanisms are getting stronger but imagining another 20-30 years of this is is beyond me, on those days.

My legs sit idle.  Something I, as an athlete and spaz, struggled with doing it's unreal.

My brain is also paralyzed at times.  I feel I am stuck on the past, dwelling.

I have extended myself, as per usual.  Filling my time time with people, travel, writing and habitually attempting to keep the twirling game on ... that I was exceptionally good at before.  I am finding, though, that a slower pace is actually preferred.  I am exhausted mentally and physically (don't tell anyone.) 

Friendships have changed, are still changing.  I was known as the "yes "girl to adventures.... I am no longer capable of plunging into the mountains or the ocean like I used to.  Not yet anyway.  So, some friends have become distant.  Some haven't renewed the lease on our friendship since my accident.  Perhaps unsure what or how to deal with me.  Perhaps afraid.  Perhaps angry at me.  Perhaps trying to give me space to ... to... to ...?

This accident, I am well aware, has affected more then just me.  More then my family.  For some reason my accident touched my local community, my climbing community, and strangers alike.  I am grateful for the new friends I have made, given the circumstances of our new predicament.  A reminder of how much we take for granted.  Our lives, my life, even now.  Life.  To be alive.  Geez, it could have lights-out in an instant.  I wouldn't have even known.  I would be---could be gone.  Same for you.

I have been forced to reflect upon that lately.  I release my anguish on you with writing, hoping, spraying, reminding myself.  I am afraid of myself, my vanity.  I am lonely.  I am hurt.  My heart aches.  My ego is paralyzed with feeling embarrassed, of my mistake, my failure, my moaning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I have returned to Estes Park, more or less full time.  The 7 month unexpected road trip has come to a close.  To be home is lovely, the fresh air (that I still can't smell), the view and the community that I love.  I am still down in Denver at least once a week for PT etc.  A friend up here has offered up time to do PT and another to massage. I also try to swim 2-3 times a week at the community center and st(roll) around some local trails that are accessible. 

It was, and still is, incredible difficult knowing the Climbing Ranger staff has returned and is back frolicking and assisting others in the mountains I love.  I have climbed Longs Peak so many freeking times, but staring at it down here...all I want to do is climb it again.  Lumpy Ridge brings the same sentiment.  Old habits die hard.

Geez.  It makes me wonder how I will do here.  If this is home?  I love it here, I love my community here.  I have developed these friendships and extensive knowledge of these mountains in the sixteen years that I have been here.  
Difficult imagining anything different.  This accident has proven though, that sometimes we are thrust into difficult decisions.  Maybe none of the options are good choices, but we make one and must deal with outcome regardless.  

I feel guilty for choosing my fall adventures as I did, given my head wasn't in the game.  I feel angry for not listening to myself.  I feel embarrassed to have made a mistake.  I feel like a failure.  I feel overwhelmed that my accident has affected so many.  Only I am in control of these negative emotions.  Only I can choose to move on.    

I feel lucky to be back in Estes Park.  
I have started work with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.  A non-profit that supports the National Park through project funding and educational experiences in the public land its mission is to support.  I think it will evolve into a lovely fit.  

Things will keep changing.  I will keep breathing for a little while longer.  I am learning many new ways of coping.  Coping with the nerve pain that persists in my body on a daily basis.  Coping with a new life of sitting, where I could run- climb- swim - hike - move to resolve difficult emotional times.  Coping with a new body that I am slightly ashamed of.    Next step.  Accepting.

Friday, May 4, 2018

nymph of the future

When I started Dovetail Mountain Adventures in 2010, my intentions were to infect others with optimism in their choices.  Yoga invites us to sit with uncomfortable feelings, striking poses that are difficult ...holding them for longer then our usual convenient threshold.  We learn to find a calmer breath in the difficult moments, calming the eyes and the soul.  We learn to communicate to our body the important aspects of pain, frustrations, or conversely comfort and joy in the most efficient of ways.

I thought creating Dovetail was an excellent platform to join groups of people, connecting them to trendy yoga and now very trendy rock climbing.   Rock climbing, for me, was more then the physical strife or extravagant vista.  I enjoyed, and sucked terribly at, finding breath, clarity, motivation, communication ...the rapid chess game.  I was challenged.  

The next step for me, the infectious part, was to build the confidence of Dovetail participants not only with physical endeavors but hopefully with daily life endeavors. 

Communication in their relationships, frustrations with vocation, and joy within themselves.  Sift through the bullshit nitpicking, simmering on over-blown disagreements.  Realizing that life IS a gift, love and respect fosters creativity.  Anger can certainty fuel motivation and clarity of situations but a breath needs to find its way between the emotion and the spoken word.

yadda yadda yadda.  This accident has me striving for that movement...the release from my brain...the release from dwelling on "what if's."  Dwelling on feeling like a failure. Dwelling on the past and the person I was striving NOT to be before, selfish, naive, stupid, ungrateful.  

Ironic I am now forced to sit.  Sit with the uncomfortable pose that life has currently thrust at me.  

What lesson would I teach myself?   

I am struggling with my current pose.  I think we all have struggles in our position... feel alone.  I am learning, that we are.  Only I can control my emotions, can control my actions, can control the presence I convey to others.  Others are doing the same dance in their own space at their own pace.  Be friends or be it partners.  To paraphrase Plato's Symposium, we have been divided into two in order to maintain a humble nature.  We strive to find our other half.  When we are lucky to find that other half, we feel like we are back to our original self.  This, is love.   
When we find comfort with ourselves, we can give comfort to others and venture further into our pose, into our minds.  My dance, next to your us dancing together.    

To find joy in the small moments.  To remember that although I am not doing a handstand on a mountain summit, I am breathing.  I can SEE the summit of Longs Peak, remember parts of the Park that I know better then the hair on the back of my legs.  I should be grateful for the running around, the failures, the incredible experiences with friends and strangers I have had in those granite nooks and gneiss crannies.     

I have found a new threshold and am trying my hardest to breath.  There is pain.  There is overwhelming embarrassment and frustration.

One day there will by joy, love, and comfort with this pose.     

Saturday, March 31, 2018


I struggle writing and sharing because I feel like a big ball of bitching, whining negativity.  No longer am I crafting a way to share my latest adventure in the hills.

As spring blossoms, I am still an inside creature.

Inside a house and inside my mind.

I struggle with feeling alone.  Friends are amazing but they go home at night.   I miss a shoulder to snuggle, meaningful doting and embrace.  My partnership had waves of difficulty in the last year before this accident...players at different life spots.  I was at a point in my life ready to participate and work for our relationship, knowing it covers the gamut of moods and experiences.  I failed.

He is an incredible human, someone I still adore.  That is my problem.  To be heartbroken continues to be my problem.  Would my hurt be the same if I hadn't had this accident?  Yes, I would be heartbroken, but I would have more confidence in finding another....more confidence with myself.  Maybe.   


This injury, its timing, is odd.  Patience with myself and my future is incredibly stressful....a challenging task at best.  I wondered about my job future, my relationship future, was even tiring of climbing a little bit....WHAT?....I know, I would baby shake myself when that thought entered.  (yea, I say that phrase).  But its true.  I felt obligated to climb because it is how I twirled my time for the last 20 years.


I am about 6 months out from my injury.  Every other day I am a mess...and even the good days I am a mess.  My nerve pain is a mildly consistent pain one day, and the next is like a refrigerator is sitting on my legs with occasional lightening bolts in my hips.  I am learning to sit with pain, with discomfort.  I thought I was a grit-filled lady before...I guess not enough.


Instead of sharing the feeling of sandstone abrading my elbows or coating my sweaty brow, I share the moaning of my heart and the twinging of my lifeless legs.

What I write is dark, maybe even from a depressed mind set but I am leaving it on the table.  I won't be this way forever.  Life has thrown me against a wall...literally.  I wished for change, but hesitated chasing it.  I wanted a long-term relationship but didn't communicate my needs clearly.  I also optimistically misconstrued some of his words and actions to favor my own desires.

Here we are now.

I thought after Andrew's death I found some semblance of coping, learning, and loving.  This accident has proven my growth is not complete.  How do I do better?  My idea of body image has changed, I do not feel beautiful or capable.  Learning to unfathomable right now.

My habit of "playing cool" but not actually communicating my friends and lovers (yes, I can still have sex, enjoy sex, even birth a little monkey... if desired) is already changing, I hope for the better!!!

My inability to sit still prior to this accident, translating to some insecurities or fear of being inside the mind......Well shit.  Now I am givin'r!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Well a small scare yesterday.  I was changing pants for dinner plans... thought it would be nice not to wear the typical work-out clothing...and noticed my right quad was swollen.  Like, twice the size of the left.  

My sister-in-law happened to fly home with me from my first airline travel from Boston and was also concerned.  I had just finished an hour of therapy on the Locomat (one of the fancy machines where I am walking on a treadmill with technology).  The day prior I had done 2 hours of standing and electrical stimulation, that was also my first day back at PT.  I had taken a week off to fly to Boston for an American Alpine Club fancy gala/dinner and to visit my brother.  While I swam 2 of the days in Boston and had a great stretch session one day, I think I was a little more still.  Flying, as a paraplegic, does have potential to give us blood clots.  We aren't able to jiggle our legs, stand up, stretch em out.  Our artery's and veins also have potential to shrink, as we aren't moving our legs so blood flow is low through the anyway.
Thursday night, I went to the ER.  They ultra-sounded my leg.  I had a blood clot in my upper right thigh.  Perhaps from the flying.  
Today, Friday, I started a new tradition of taking blood thinners!  WOOT WOOT! :)  Bah, more drugs to take, more side-effects that are frustrating.  I took pride in being a healthy person who was body aware.  This injury is frustrating in that I can't feel, I don't know...and I have to pay attention even closer.  
The leg is still quite swollen, which stresses me out.... there isn't much room for it to grow bigger and I don't like the idea of permanent effects this may cause.  Like damage to my vein, causing a more chronic condition.  WOWZERS.

On that note.  Here are some pictures of the event all dressed up and maybe a video of airport fun.
Nose Record Holders

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Pancake flop

Too real, too honest.  I just feel like I am a burden, a giant pile of complaints.

Just had another transition moment.

I don't think I am fully depressed but life moments keep gleaming straight at me.  Moved over to my friend Caroline's house.  She lives in Denver, only a 20 minute drive or so from Craig Hosptial.  I wanted to stay close to Craig continuing PT and one-on-one therapies for the next 2 months rather intensely.  I visit Estes Park, see my backyard and my kitchen about once a month.

I miss home.  I miss the ease of life I took for granted.

The transition is difficult for multitude of reasons.  The climbing ranger Job posting is about to be released via the government interwebs.  The team is in communication with one another, as they should be, but I feel left out.  I am no longer capable of performing the job that I freekin' loved.  The National Park is trying their best to get me back into the mix, but unfortunately as with Government work there is not a job description to fulfill the tasks I am capable.  I can do administrative work, dispatch work, or even work in the wilderness permit office.  I am toying with those ideas but would really love to create that job description and work towards continuing the work I was doing.

I know I can't go into the field to do Search and Rescue but I am very capable of the performing Incident Command staff work in the office.  There are many tasks that fall to the way-side, especially during the summer months, that I could continue to do in the Ranger Division.  Not to mention the work I would love to continue with the Climbing Concessions, the Rocky Mountain National Park now allows 6 companies to guide technical climbing.  I was working with the companies and guides, trying to develop a better relationship between for-profit and National Parks, instilling better Leave no Trace climbing ethics, developing stewardship days, clean-ups etc.   Alas, this particular work was just some of my duties as a climbing ranger, something I think I could continue doing if a position existed.  It doesn't in Rocky.

Bitch moan, bitch moan, bitch gripe.

I try to reel in the negative tone and realize the great things.....

So, I have been putting out the feelers on other work.

I have been swimming 2 times a week at local recreation centers.  Swimming is nice, gets my heart moving but it certainly is different.  Hopefully I will find biking to be joyous, with hand cranks and all.

I wonder about joy still.  I cry at the silliest things; missing my bed, sad at the home decorating I was in the middle of.....

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sunshine, lollipops and Rainbows.

As I jumbled about the bathroom this afternoon, in the silence of rare alone time, I heard the distant ticking of a watch.  This watch is tucked away in my toothbrush bag by the sink.  I have scrounged over the watch for hear it meant I was quiet, it was quiet!  This persistent ticking machine belongs to Andrew Barnes, the man I dated who died in the Black Canyon in 2013.

I pause to listen, to take a breath.  Thoughts flood my brain of still being here, of him not.

Tick - tick - tick

The lightening bolt tingle in my hips jolts me out of the day dream.  I palm down onto wheelchair wheels and push up letting my frail bottom half hang and stretch.

I wheel over to my computer, here we are now!  

Self-esteem is low some days.    Daily the struggle to keep my head above the water is a challenge. In this moment, I remember how I grieved for Andrew, his untimely vanishing from our world.  I wondered, back then, if I would climb the same.  If I would love the same.  How could I possibly find a love, a connection again like Andrew?  The timing to give my love, myself to them and vice-versa needed to be perfect.  As months passed, adventures distracted but heart and mind did mend slowly.  Timing did seem to align eventually.  I meet and fell in love again with Max, as distant or unfathomable as that seemed in the beginning.  

Here I am again, faced with self-esteem dropping realities.  Learning to grieve again, to put faith in timing and life circumstance is incredibly overwhelming.  With my injury, I don't have the ease of distracting runs through the hills or type two fun on far flung alpine mountains.  My mind is churning with irrational impatient newbie thoughts.  

Will the world offer another willing to be my partner?  You nod as you read, or scoff at my thoughts.  But wait, I am in a wheelchair!  I know it doesn't change WHO I am, but it does a little bit.  I am a gal who couldn't sit still, who's self-esteem and morale was dependent on whether I had movement in my day.  I KNOW I can still move, but the joy is gone.  (for now, I know.)  
BUT, right now, in this moment, in this day, in this week, for this month....I do not feel the same.  My legs which took me to the top of mountains, ran me across desert lands, and biked me over sick gnar terrain, they are unresponsive.  The 5'5 slender, yet quadzilla legs carried my ideal body image of competent, capable, independent and beautiful.  It is what made me attractive to others, my ability to keep up, to push your comfort levels physically, to challenge you mentally....because we were doing them together.  

Now I cannot. 

Yes, I am still capable of pushing, challenging physically and mentally but....

I am fully aware of how lucky I am to type with my hands, breath a big breath on my own, and damn lucky to have a brain that works minus zero deficits, well..... :)

I still love myself and know that if I am patient and let time pass that things will feel better.  I may never walk again but golly I hope to find myself attractive, find joy in work and each day.   Miracles do happen, maybe even another will find me to be attractive share adventures and snuggles.