Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mt. St. Helens with Rick and The Brazilians!

Rick is one of my most respected friends. He was the chair of my Doctoral Committee and basically, he  stepped in when I was in a bad place and helped me finish my Ph.D. He is awesome, and wise and in quite good shape! He's a competitive cyclist and loves to bike in Europe. We decided to climb Mt. St. Helens last September and I thought I should post some pics of this action packed day. 

 It was a perfect day for a climb.
 It was long and arduous, but we were persistent.
 I had to snap a shot of this group descending. Check out the pup who is along for the ride!
 We finally reached the top at 3pm after a slow climb up, which was a bit concerning to me. The climb down is no picnic. There was no snow either, so we couldn't glissade down and save any time.

 We celebrated a bit, caught our breath and then hurriedly started our climb down. I was nervous.  This was when the most beautiful Brazilian Angels came to our rescue. We had seen this group of five youthful, smiling, and uplifting individuals on our climb up. They were also taking their time, snapping brilliant photos, and stopping to enjoy the plentiful views. Once we got to the top, they were the first to congratulate us, and specifically Rick, on his accomplishment. I could also see their concern for our hike down and they had said they would climb down with us, even though I insisted that they go at their own pace, especially since they had planned on driving back to Seattle that night!

  The views were amazing and the Brazilians were always in front of us, looking back to check on us. I have to admit, I was so relieved knowing that they were in front of us, but as darkness fell (and we only had two small flashlights), my nervousness hit an all-time high. We were hiking down a mountain, on boulders in the darkness and Rick's legs were very tired, as were mine. I thought for sure we'd be sleeping on a boulder that night, when in the darkness I heard screams from below. The Brazilians (Karol, Maiza, Rafa, Norton and Priscila) hiked back up and physically helped Rick climb down the boulders, giving me a much needed break. The physical demands of assisting him and the mind-numbing worry that we might have an injury or have a long cold night sleeping on the mountain, were very overwhelming for me and my dismantled coping skills. They took turns escorting him down the mountain and kept me smiling and happy by entertaining me with various top 20 American songs. I know that these five amazing individuals all have personal relationships with the Lord, and honestly, if all Christians were like these 5 Brazilians, more people would accept organized religion. They were all symbols for love, acceptance and faith. Not only was I happy that they were there to save us, I was also happy that my path crossed with theirs, because I felt like a better person for knowing each one of them. I was feeling sad about many of the atrocities in our world, but these individuals made me love humans again. Oh, and they ended up having to get a hotel nearby after escorting us down. Their selflessness was beautiful. Thank you my Brazilian Angels!
I snapped this shot with one of their Iphones. It may be one of the best pics I've ever taken! Love you guys!!