It sounded like a good idea at the time…Father’s Day, spending time with our boys, a healthy hike in the great outdoors-it had all the makings of a day to remember. And, yes, I will remember it, especially today, the day after…
Handsome Husband and I have spent an awful lot of time in our car, traveling, seeing the country–wonderful all the way round! But we need more exercise, and we both know it. So, since we landed here in Sedona and decided to stay for a couple weeks with our loving sons, we have embarked on a daily walking program. Not Olympic style walking, but a good, healthy, hour long walk every morning. We’re doing this,mind you, absent any hot showers–the boys haven’t had any propane for hot water, so we’ve been making do with cold bath type washups. Ever shaved your legs with cold water? I’m here to tell you it can be done! The propane arrives today, perfect timing for my sore muscles….but I digress…
Handsome Husband and I took our exercise walk yesterday AM, and then decided to take the 2 family dogs on a walk when we returned from that–more walking, good to go on that! Another 45 minutes maybe, in addition to what we’d already done. Loved it, decided to do it again in following days….
Back from all that, it was decided to spend Father’s day at a place called Fossil Creek Canyon, about 1 1/2 hrs away. Piercing blue skies outside, mid 80’s temps, nice breeze, perfect, right? Off we go!
Fossil Creek is outside a verrrrryyy small town called Strawberry. AND, you leave town to suddenly be on a dirt road that continues for quuuite a time, until you arrive at the parking area for the hike. Here’s the first word to all of you–if you have a DIRT road that leads you to any activity that you thought to do, TURN around! It does not bode well for a feeling of comfort at the end of the day! BUT, I wasn’t thinking that way–no, no, I was excited at the idea of hiking! We park our trusty Saturn VUE, which is already, from the previous day, covered in red dust from having visited Oak Creek. I am NOT acclimated to the whole hiking lifestyle, I am the first to admit, and I was NOT as prepared as I possibly should have been. I had brought a bottled water of course-you don’t go ANYWHERE out here without some water! I had some sunscreen–I have a fairly deep tan already from regular exposure, but don’t want to end up looking like a dried prune. My straw cowboy hat–love it, wear it most the time. Wearing my pink sandals…hmmm….sneakers might have been a better choice…
Handsome Husband studied the sign for Fossil Creek prior to descending-it said 4 miles. I heard him say that, but it didn’t register with me. We had been told 2 miles each way, and that’s what was cemented on my mind. Two miles? Who can’t do that?
Well, it WAS four miles….each way. Of course it started out all right…feeling good, full of energy. The terrain was initially not too bad-a little dusty, but who cares about that? Though we were descending a looonnnnggg way down, it wasn’t the intimidating red rocks of the Grand Canyon, with the very narrow pathways that gave you NO protection from seeing the death drops to your side. This was green, pine trees all over, shrubs, colorful cactus-all very nice!
We would meet people along the way who were returning to the top–they didn’t look all that happy. Mainly they looked tired and done in. And the path got a bit steeper, and rockier. The rocks were sometimes very small, and its debatable as to whether that makes it harder than the bigger ones that you had to skirt around. But all manageable. And we’d ask the top bound hikers about how far they thought it would be til we reached the bottom from our common spot. Clearly, they were optimistic in their calculations, because it ALWAYS ended up being longer! I got to the point where I was hiking down a dried riverbend, with REALLY large boulders that had to be clambered over. WHERE was this supposed swimming pond and stupendous waterfall that had been touted to us? I could hear the sound of the wind in the pines, and yes, it was soothing, blah, blah, blah, but NO sounds of water! But what could we do? We continued on.
At one point on the walk, I was expressing to Handsome Husband that all this walking DAMN well better make me lose calories,and I asked him if it had already made my butt look smaller (the eternal question!) My eyes were on the ground, watching my footing so I wouldn’t twist an ankle on the rocks, and I didn’t realize that there were 2 hikers approaching from the opposite direction, and the one female hiker heard me and it gave her a laugh to hear that, but it lightened up the mood considerably.
My pink sandals? Not doing me real well–I had a blister hatching on the bottom of my big toe. But bearable, so I soldiered on… and on…and on…
And, yes, folks, there was actually a swimming pond at the bottom, and there was a waterfall, but I didn’t see it, because it was STILL a quarter mile hike down the road a piece, and I wasn’t interested in going any further. I stuck my feet in the water-people were swimming about, having a good time, it was peaceful…the only thing that kept me from TRULY relaxing was thinking, well, wait a minute, we still have to HIKE back up to the top–4 MORE miles! But, making a brave attempt at staying in the moment, which is my new mantra, I put that out of my mind, and stayed in the damn moment.
I won’t bore you with the death defying details of returning UP TO THE TOP! Suffice to say, I had to borrow a pair of my son Nick’s white socks that thank goodness he had brought with him, or the blisters on my feet would have been INCREDIBLY painful, and would, perhaps, have precluded me being able to GET to the top. Yes, I was a real fashion plate in my white socks and pink sandals–almost made me look European. Dusk, and then dark, was going to hit the canyon soon, so we started back up. I didn’t care about the waterfall, and, fairly shortly, I didn’t care about the beauty around me, or Mother Nature, or tree-hugging or anything else. I just wanted to be AT the top, IN the car, AT a restaurant, and eating food! (the few goldfish crackers I ate at the bottom just wasn’t doing it for me!) FURTHERMORE, this was an area where you could FULLY expect that there could be mountain lions. Oh, yes, folks, there are mountain lions out here, and you never know WHEN they might pounce on you and make dinner of you. In my mind, I was posing a scenario of this happening, and how I could best react so to save my life, or how my loved ones around me might react so that they could save my life. Would it just chomp on me and destroy my face, before being scared off and then I would have to have plastic surgery? Would I be one of those people who could get a face transplant? Would it tear off an arm or leg? Its tough to notice surrounding beauty when such thoughts are going through your mind.
It was TOUGH going up…but I have always felt the need to prove to myself that I am capable of doing whatever needs to be done, and I persevered. There was momentary thought to heart attacks, in addition to cat attacks, and being airlifted out, and did they charge for that, by the way? But mostly, I kept my eyes to the ground, watching my footing, refusing to look up to where I needed to be to be done with this forced march. Who wants to know how much further it is, if you know, in your heart of hearts, that it is much further than you want to know? Likewise, I didn’t ask anyone around me for possible estimates as to when we’d reach the top. It didn’t matter. I just had to get there, and to do that, I had to put one foot in front of another.
Four miles is a LOONNNgg way uphill…long, dusty, tiring, exhausting…you name it. But all good things must come to an end, and, as evidenced by the fact that I’m sitting here typing this, I did make it to the top. Father’s Day dinner plans were ditched-we were all sweaty, covered in red dust, and done for the day. Who knew fast food could taste so good–we stopped at a SONIC, which was, thankfully, still open! (here in the wilds, places close up early as a general rule). We wolfed down one of everything, and I’m sure I consumed all the calories I had lost earlier, and who cared?) And, in the dark, we headed home….
Today’s report: Its really, really, hard to stand up and move freely–I need a massage desperately! And, though I said yesterday that I would never do such a thing again, I probably will, if offered the chance, because I like to challenge myself. I could, if any of you care to, be talked out or that nutty thinking. The house is quiet, everyone still sleeping off yesterday’s adventure, or off to work. Today will be a quiet day, resting up. I will definitely stay in this moment!