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They Called Me Mountain Mama

That’s what my family called me. No hike in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho was too daunting for this woman.

Sandra and Bob at Hell Roaring Lake

                         Hell Roaring Lake Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

Not only was I an avid hiker, but I would always take a topographic map to make sure we could find hidden lakes, ghost mining towns, and other unique destinations not accessible by established trails. I also carried books about wildflowers and the history of the lakes we were climbing to.

Sandra and Bob in Chost Town Boulder City Idaho

Bob and I exploring the ghost town of Boulder City in the Boulder Mountains of Idaho.

For nearly 40 years, I scampered over fields of shale, on top of fallen pine trees and up waterfalls to reach challenging destinations. I even led our hiking group to a secret lake called 8522, which only a handful of locals knew about. It was identified on the map solely by its topographical elevation.

Lake 8522

This is the secret lake 8522 up in the Sawtooth Mountains. We climbed up a waterfall to reach this lake. It was worth it

I climbed over boulders, balanced on rocks and tree limbs to cross streams. Never fell down. Never broke anything.

But I had my other spills. I was a pretty aggressive skier. My husband and I would start at the top of 9300 foot high Baldy Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho, and then ski down some Black Diamond runs (the scariest ones) from the top to the bottom of the mountain without stopping. And we would do it over and over again for hours.

Sandra Sallin in her ski hat

Over the years, I had a few disasters. The first one was a concussion. It was one of those days when the visibility was zero. A weather front had moved in along with blowing snow and no sunlight. As an experienced skier, I tried to feel the snow with my skis but wound up flat on my back, with my daughter asking me who was the President? I didn’t’ know the answer and wound up overnight in the hospital with a concussion.

That didn’t keep me down. A few years later, I was skiing with my husband and while on the ski lift we noticed that one of the blackest of all the Black Diamond runs had been groomed and it looked like satin. We skied over to the top of the run and I started down this almost vertical wall and then hit a field of ice. Cranking my edges into the mountain, I lost it, or more accurately, my knee collapsed and I did, too. There I was at the top of the run, alone, stretched out on the ice, waving and yelling. My husband had gone down ahead of me not knowing I wasn’t behind him. A good samaritan spotted me and alerted the ski patrol. They brought me down on a  ski-mounted gurney. I’d torn my ACL. I needed surgery on my knee. So, that’s two trips to the emergency room thanks to my love of the great snowy outdoors.

Second week in ski school class race.0

     My second week in ski school racing on Baldy Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Following surgery with a local orthopaedic specialist and lots of physical therapy, I was out of commission for a long time. With keen insight into the obvious, I decided I didn’t need a third trip to the emergency room. No more skiing for me. But I still got to keep my title of Mountain Mama because as summer came, I was out there climbing those mountains again.

Sawtooth Lake above Stanley Idaho

Bob and I always loved hiking to Sawtooth Lake above Stanley, Idaho. It’s one of the largest lakes and is a beautiful, challenging and long hike. But look at the pay off.

Fast forward.  Remember Tree-Maggedon? We’ve been dealing with trimming and removing many trees at our home in Los Angeles,  because of our concern that our huge, old pines might come crashing down again on our house and us.

Our sons car completely smashed by a pine tree that fell down.

Our son’s car completely smashed by one of the pine trees that fell onto our driveway.

So, we hired some tree trimmers. The day they arrived, I got dressed in my boyfriend jeans but decided that my lace-up shoes did not look cool enough with my outfit so I put on my black patent leather clogs. A little voice in my head suggested that perhaps I should wear something more appropriate like running shoes. But fashion triumphed and I  decided I needed to look chic for the tree trimmers.

As multiple chainsaws began their piercing sound, I ran up the hill to the neighbour above us to observe the trimming on our property below. As I sidled up to a nearby fence to get a better view, (and looking very smart in my patent leather clogs), I stepped on a small garden hose and slipped off my clogs. Rip! –– the chilling sound of tissues tearing in my foot. I tried to ignore it, but, it really hurt. But, I continued to run around in pain directing the tree trimmers –– clogs, damaged foot and all.

Finally, the pain became so intense that I called the doctor who immediately sent me to Urgent Care. They took an X-ray and declared, “It’s a Jones Fracture!” Great! What’s that? It’s six to eight weeks in a hard boot, no weight on the foot and crutches.

Sandra with crutches and wheelchair in Urgent care

Have you ever used crutches? There’s a lot of pain using your arms and hopping on the good foot. I was instructed to sway. Sure. You try swaying with one foot. I felt like a drunk flamingo.

Sandra with crutches

Wearing my Hooray top from Artful Home. Nothing keeps me down from being stylish, even on crutches. I love the color. It makes me happy. Perfect for wearing after being sidelined with my fractured foot. It seems to say that Spring and healing are on their way. 

Sandra throwing out clogs.

Bye, bye clogs. Lesson learned.

A friend told me about a scooter where you rest your bad leg on the seat and push with the with your good leg. Now, this is fun. I have to control my self from not racing like a Lamborghini. Zoom, Zoom!

Sandra on her Scooter at Gelson

Sandra on her Scooter at Gelson’s Market

Do you notice it’s the same bright red as my car? The only thing I’m missing is my moto jacket with my name on the back  –– The Glamor Klutz!

I need a name for my scooter. Any ideas?

Also, have you broken anything? Tell me I’m not the only one.

Some shows I enjoyed watching while recovering.

Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton on Amazon Prime
Four Seasons with Dior on Amazon Prime
Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets on YouTube
Fearless series on Amazon Prime
Seven Seconds on Netflix

A few good books

The woman in the Window By A.J. Flyn You will not be able to put this down. You are warned.
Sycamore Row by John Grisham  An oldie but goodie.
At Home in Mitford By Jan Karon I must comment on this series. It’s a about a preacher in a small town in North Carolina. I’m not a Christian, but I found the series to be so sweet and charming. Perfect for lying in bed with your leg raised and iced.

PS. When you see text in orange, click on it and it will take you to the link of that subject.

My new mantra

Things to do today.

** This post was sponsored by the artistic and stylish Artfulhome. But the opinions are all my own. Thank you Artfulhome.

All images appearing on They Called Me Mountain Mama are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!



  • Leslie Lord - No breaks so far but I am only 63…
    Glad to see you out and about and tootling around with your red scooter. Thank you for your suggestions of things to watch and read.
    The patent clogs are really cute but they do look unsafe for scaling rocks in the garden. Fashion first!
    Hope someone comes up with a good name for the scooter.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Leslie. Maybe you’re more mature than I am. I still think I’m a young kid and I’m not. Yes, looking forward to a creative name for that little scooter.ReplyCancel

  • Penelope Bianchi - Eeek!! That was a few years ago! I scared my friends!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Eeek! Indeed. I always thought sand was safe. Well, now I don’t. Those breaks are coming at us from every direction.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I’ve never broken a bone, but I ripped a tendon in my shoulder from a bad mountain biking accident. It was my right arm (dominant) and really couldn’t use if for 10 weeks.
    I’ve pretty much given up shoes with any heel – even clogs. I love that saffron yellow on you and just bought a jacket that color – so good. Feel better….are you painting at all?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - That’s just what I need is mountain biking. My daughter reminded me that I was playing basketball with my grandsons in clogs! This was in her uneven driveway. She gave away the clogs when I wasn’t looking. She’s smarter than I am. I do adore that color. It says Spring is almost here. As you can see I love wearing it.

      Love seeing your painting in Lisa’s home.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - This comes via email from Mike:
    That sounds so cool and so adventurous Sandra. Do you take photographs when you go on these trail hikes as well?

    MikeReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Mike,

      My husband is the photographer. Most of these photos were taken before the iPhone. Now I take some but my husband takes 99% of them. Thank goodness.ReplyCancel

  • Susan B. - OK, I have to admit the scooter looks kind of fun, but I sure wouldn’t want to have to break a foot to use one! The color of that top is wonderful on you. Hope you heal quickly and get back on both feet!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks, my scooter is happy that you approve. I do love the color of that Hooray top. I think it looks especially good when you’re on crutches and scooters. It does say Spring is here. At least somewhere. Thanks for commenting!ReplyCancel

  • Diana Fassino - Oh Sandra, what a marvelous Mountain Saga! But far too many broken bones, dear girl. We too used to love hiking up to Sawtooth lake with a big gang of pals/dogs/picnics–and sometimes on up to–was it Alpine Lake? Smaller, but equally lovely. A bit beyond my abilities now, but then I am 86, so can’t really complain if I have to settle for lovely dog walks up the local canyons now. I got away with 20 years of skiing on Baldy, (often 100 days in a season) without breaking a thing–only to break my femur in 4 places two years ago falling down three steps on a gorgeous yacht in the Mediterranean, sailing with with 12 friends. It was the second day at sea, too, What a waste! It took them 10 hours to get a paramedic boat out to us and load me onto it and get us to a hospital in–Turkey! No one spoke a word of English except ‘Ebu’ the interpreter, and we were there for 3 weeks and I got 19 screws in my femur and was eventually flown home on a stretcher with a nurse-aide in attendance. But here’s the thing. With no common language, we became such friends with the nurses and my lovely young surgeon, (Communicating mainly with sign language and me doing little drawings–and lots of laughter) that the night before we were to fly home the door of my room opened and in they came–the nurses, my surgeon, 3 visiting directors of the hospital and someone from the office carrying a cake with candles–and they gave us a rollicking farewell party. Talk about ‘The Kindness of Strangers! Dick and I felt we learned a huge lesson–and it made us wonder, too, why the world can’t all get on with each other. . .
    But Sandra, let’s agree not to break anything else! XXX DianaReplyCancel

    • sandra - Dear Diana, Alpine Lake is below Sawthooth Lake it is exquisite. One of my favorite hikes. Loved taking the kids there because it was not only a beautiful hike but a gorgeous destination. Loved it. We always had to decided whether to eat our lunch at Alpine and then hike up to Sawtooth or wait and eat at Sawtooth. Big decisions.
      I can’t believe your story about hiking for years and then slipping on a yacht! How fortunate for you to receive such excellent care in Turkey. What a saga. I take it your fine now. Oh you’re right. Why can’t we all get along. Thank you for this marvelous story. I love it. Of course you are a wonderful storyteller. Loved your books. Be Well,
      SandyReplyCancel

  • LA CONTESSA - NOT ONE BROKEN BONE EVER!!!!!!!
    NAMES for the SCOOTER…………MISTER DASHING!
    GO ~ GO GIRL……….
    MY TESLA
    EMPRESS

    But by now you must have a name!!!
    TELL ME!
    I’m HOME!
    ALHOA!
    XXReplyCancel

    • sandra - Well, you missed the starting date. Now my little red scooter is being put to rest for a while at least. I’m now allowed to walk wearing my boot along with a cane or a walker. Hallelujah!

      Thanks for your naming. You’ll get another chance I’m sure. Welcome home!
      Aloha!ReplyCancel

  • classic casual home - I just love the outdoors, too! We went on a short hike (one mile) the weekend before last in Lake Tahoe. You will be hiking again! I dislocated my ankle (not broken but the foot came out of the socket). It can be depressing to use crutches…and my doctor wouldn’t let me have a scooter like yours. You WILL get better…just takes time. LOVE that top and the color.
    Mary AnnReplyCancel

    • sandra - Oh rats! I’m so sorry. Why in the world will your doctor not let you use a scooter? Crutches are torture.Thanks for the compliment on the top. I always feel like Spring when I wear it.

      I’ve now graduated to putting my foot on the ground. That’s a big deal. I use a walker and a cane so I’m able to get around now. But I still must wear my boot. Actually my foot feels so much better when I wear my boot.I must say being able to put my foot on the ground means that I can safely take a shower. The whole neighborhood appreciates that!ReplyCancel

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