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You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. – Rene Daumel

When you think of New Mexico you don’t think of mountains and yet the view from our house is this:

See that pointy peak? That’s Tetilla Peak. The summit is 7204 feet above sea level. Every day I wake up to this little mountain and think – I want to stand on top of that.

So yesterday Mark researched it – and found that no trail exists to its summit. You have to blaze your own. So we looked at some maps and found an old forest road that ended at the bottom of the peak on the North side. We live to the West of her.

It was 95 degrees yesterday – 10% humidity and a light breeze. Perfect for hiking among rattlesnakes! Tetilla looks so easy from the bottom – like sand and shrubs. But when you start climbing you are immediately navigating large rocks. You know, the kind of rocks that critters live under. The higher we went, the bigger the rocks. The final ascent we were literally climbing – sometimes on all fours – to reach the summit.

As the picture would suggest – the top of Tetilla is not very big. Years ago when I climbed Mt. Hood I thought the summit would be a perfect cone shape.  And that we’d all have to take turns standing on it. Tetilla was not pointy, but it was the pointiest mountain I’d ever climbed. It definitely felt like you were on a peak. We could see Cochiti Lake (where we live) and all the way to Los Alamos, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

We dedicated our hike to our fathers – who have both passed away. And on the way down I realized why we climb mountains. To gain perspective. I knew what to expect on the descent. It was frightening at times (we never did see a rattlesnake thankfully). And they say that pain is fear leaving your body.

I can say with certainty I have no fear today.

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June 2012