Kimberly, Guatemala

Kimberly is a junior double major in biological sciences and chemistry in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. As part of SMU Engaged Learning, she is conducting an Unbridled Project in Guatemala during 2012-13. She plans to research health-related traditions, beliefs and practices in the indigenous Mayan community and evaluate how these values and beliefs occasionally clash with Western medicine. Before heading to Guatemala, she is studying at SMU-in-Taos.

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On to Mordor!

One of my favorite movie trilogies to watch is Lord of the Rings. In the film, The Fellowship of the Ring, there is a scene where the Fellowship, who accompanying Frodo to the land of Mordor cross through the Misty Mountains. While watching the movie, I have always pondered how hard it must be to climb a mountain.  Well, today I happened to experience this feeling first-hand, albeit, there was no snow on our hike. As part of our field trip we climbed up to William’s Lake in the Taos Ski Valley.


Now, while our class had completed other hikes as part of field trips, I must say that this hike, truly, was a challenge. From where we stationed the van the lake was 2 miles away, but everyone in the group was very excited and eager to arrive at the lake. Along the hike, our group would stop to collect plants and flowers or watch birds. There was a clearing that we came across where a woodpecker was hard a work pecking at a tree. There was also a group of Gray jays that we attempted to persuade, with pretzels, to eat out of our hands.  It was very interesting to imagine how during the winter the snow completely covers the Ski Valley.

Along the hike, Laura and I realized that our group had just the right number of individuals to create our own fellowship! We had Dr. Ubelaker (Gandalf), Jewel (Frodo), Vanessa (Aragorn), Laura (Legolas), Chris (Merry), Melissa (Pippin), Daniel (Gimli), Tom (Boromir) and I was Samwise. As Tom liked to comment during the trip, “Onto Mordor!” The trip became entertaining, as we would tell jokes, and take many (many) photographs at every rest point. From climbing on top of rocks (as Dr. Ubelaker likes to refer to us as Mountain goats) to posing by a tree, there were many photograph opportunities.

Finally, we arrived at William’s lake! We were now at 11,040 feet above sea level. When we arrived at the lake, I was stunned to see how beautiful the scenery was. The lake glistened and the mountains were just breathtaking. It was truly a peaceful place where one could just sit down and let the worries of the world slide away. We then hiked just a bit further with Dr. Ubelaker to a waterfall where we climbed near the top (and yes, took more photographs)!

Once we had stayed at the lake for a bit, it was finally time to climb back down. The trip back down the mountain went by a lot quicker and when we finally arrived at the van we were all worn out. The ride back to campus was quiet as all of us were either napping or just watching the scenery pass by. It is hard to imagine that this is my last week in Taos but I am glad that I was able participate in the hike up to William’s Lake as it is a memory I will not easily forget!



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    About Kimberly Mendoza

    STU UnGrad
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