Nestled deep in the Medicine Bow National Forest lays a steep hill. So steep, even the most powerful snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles have trouble climbing its treacherous scape. So steep, many people who make it up rarely make it down safely. So steep, that it bears the name Widow Maker.
I woke up at the crack of dawn, showered and ate breakfast with my friends. The first day in the mountains is always the most exciting. Fresh snow, fresh surroundings, everything is just fresh. After making sure the sleds were good to go and the trailer was secure, the three other guys and I piled into the truck and hauled up the mountain. We couldn’t contain our excitement as we drove to the unloading site. That day was a special day for all of us. That was because we were going to conquer the Widow Maker.
We unloaded and headed to a newly groomed trail. Wide and smooth, there was nothing stopping us. Less than an hour later, we were at the base of the hill. It looked like a snow-covered skyscraper, jutting into the sky, screaming, “Look at me! Climb me! Defeat me!” Rocks stuck out of the snow halfway up the hill. You could see tracks go up and stop at random never to continue, tracks of the ones who were conquered by Widow Maker. As I took it in, intimidation stirred in my stomach, and quickly vanished after I realized how daft I was being. I mean it was only a dumb hill! We decided to have a snack and watch for a little while before we climbed her. Not even five minutes passed and we saw a man on a bright blue snowmobile pause in front of the hill. He revved the sled and shot up, about halfway, he lost speed and tried to turn around. He lost control and let go of the snowmobile. My friends and I watched in awe; one of them even got it on video. The sled tumbled down the hill and jolted to a stop in front of the group the man had been riding with. The driver slipped/fell down the hill and his group ran to him. The guys and I turned to face each other. “You think we can handle this?” I asked. We looked at the snowmobiles as if examining their ability to climb. Then, in unison, we nodded.
I got back onto my snowmobile and started it up. I slowly drove closer to the base and revved my engine. If not now, when? And so I went up. At first, I went a little slow, my thumb toying with the throttle as if to find the best place to position it. Then I gained speed. I went faster and faster until the engine made a bogging sound and my stomach felt hollow, but I kept going. A little bit closer to the top, I thought, only a little closer, and then I will have fought half the battle! I reached the top only to find out I must immediately turn around, there was no base to this hill. I flopped my body over the sled so I was on the side that faced the hill and started a wide turn. I looked down the hill and sweat collected at my neck. My eyes widened and I swore to myself. I was awestruck at the amount of land below me. My last thought before I went down was, Will the Widow Maker Conquer me?