This morning I got up at 3 a.m. in order to get shot. A photographer named Kevin Moloney shot 200 pictures of me on the trail.
It presented some new challenges, but it didn’t hurt much. When Kevin and I got to the trailhead at 5 a.m., the temperature was below freezing, where it remained all day. Although the weather was so clear that the stars were out in force, it was pitch black, requiring us to use headbands that held our flashlights. And most of the trail was covered by fresh ice and snow. We were hiking from about 10,300 feet to about 11,000 feet.
I actually stayed as warm as I have on any hike, because I dressed for the weather. From the top down, I wore a hat, one that I haven’t worn much on the trail this year, my Australian Akubra hat that Kevin thought was “more dashing” than my usual hat from New Zealand. Then, over my tee-shirt I wore my fleece-lined khaki shirt and over that my down jacket. Gloves, of course. Then, over my underpants I wore my new long underwear for the first time in my life, over my heavy-weight blue jeans. Finally, at bottom I wore two pair of socks in my hiking boots.
What did hurt was slipping once on the ice as I crossed a little bridge in the dark. I fell hard right on a rock that I hit between my shoulder bones. My balance certainly isn’t as good as it should be, but even with perfect balance I’m sure that the spot that caught me would have sent me tumbling.
When I fell, one of my aluminum trekking poles got bent. I hope the warranty covers it; if not I will need another $100 pair. One of my metal canteens also got a big bend in it, probably a good thing since it protected my hip.
I’m going to get snowshoes for hikes this winter. But Kevin says that what we really needed for the hike today were crampons, like climbers use but lighter. Gotta get them too!
We went to the Indian Peaks Wilderness, specifically to Lake Isabelle, one of the few places where on a hike this year I retraced my steps. But with snow everywhere, it was something completely different.
Also different was hiking with somebody else. Kevin was a remarkably delightful companion on the way to and from the trailhead and on the trail. He lives near here and we hope to keep in touch. Here is a picture I took of the photographer:
The trailhead was the same that I took to go around Long Lake at the beginning of the summer and to Pawnee Pass a week or so ago. But unlike those occasions, there wasn’t a single vehicle in the parking lot when we got there.
But by coincidence another car pulled up just after us, and the hiker who took that vehicle joined us for much of the way up and back. He turned out to be a photographer from Denver named Mike, who also wanted to get to Lake Isabelle at first light.
Considering how treacherous the ice turned out to be, we were lucky that we had to hike only four miles on a reasonably flat trail. We spent only 3 and one-half hours on the trail, never stopping long enough to take off our packs.
After we got back to the trailhead at 9 a.m., we got our final reward of the trip. We saw a moose, the first one that I have seen in this area.
Why did anyone want to do a photo shoot of me today? It’s for a national traveling photo exhibit sponsored by one of the big pharmaceutical companies, Novo Nordisk. This company, headquartered in Denmark, is one of the leaders in diabetes drugs.
They call the exhibit the “Face of Change.” It’s about people with type 2 diabetes who have success stories to share.
I first heard about it when I went to the American Diabetes Association’s June scientific sessions in Chicago. A PR man representing Novo Nordisk made an appointment with me to write something about it. I put a single paragraph in the July issue of my “Diabetes Update” newsletter (http://www.mendosa.com/diabetes_update_108.htm):
You can be a “face of change.” And Novo Nordisk wants a famous photographer to shoot you. Novo is soliciting submissions from people with type 2 diabetes. You can send in your own photos and share your personal diabetes success story via the exhibit website. The deadline for submissions is August 30.
Then, I forgot about it. That is, until my friend and fellow diabetes writer Gretchen Becker emailed me on August 10, “Why don’t you submit a photo of yourself?” That was all the encouragement I needed to send in the photo of me at the top of Arapahoe Pass on the Continental Divide.
A few days ago the Novo Nordisk contacted me and told me that they had selected my mug for the exhibit. But as they had planned, they got a professional photog, Kevin, to shoot me. So that’s why I got up at 3 a.m. this morning to walk on snow and ice in the dark.