Hiking the ridge

I work six days a week, Monday through Saturday. My one day of rest is Sunday, and this Sunday found me tumbling out of bed at 4AM to start the coffee and breakfast we’d need to complete our 4.4 mile hike. (So much for rest.)

There’s a trail in our local state park that leads up to a canyon with staggering levels of rock. When the snow melts or we have monsoon, water rushes into the rock and creates fountains and pools of moving water, and it’s a popular place to go cliff jumping and swimming. Lucky for us, there was a heavy storm the night before so water was guaranteed. He’s been eager to hike it since he moved here six months ago, so along with a friend of ours, we hit the trailhead at 6AM.

I don’t like hiking. Going up sucks so much; mostly the steep and almost constant uphill climb. Its one redeeming quality is cooler weather, but then that means an obscenely early start. Going down is shit, too. Not just the heat of the day but also trying to avoid breaking your ankle or tumbling over the cliffside for trusting the wrong rock.

All the negativity evaporates once you make it to the end. The feelings of utter relief as you realize you’re mere steps from sitting down already, and the thrill of having made it all the way, are intoxicating. All the better if your hikes include something awesome at the halfway point, like a waterfall or cool looking rocks – something you can gawk at and talk about. Hike there, chill out, go back.

My husband + friend went swimming with a few other hikers that popped up after we were settling in. I’m not much of a swimmer, but by some fate I married a man that should be awarded an honorary blowhole. I ended up scarfing down a Power Bar and taking pictures of everyone, lounging on the rock like a lizard in the sun. I even grabbed a cat nap while the guys changed clothes and missed the show completely.

I dragged ass on the way back down; apparently my shoes aren’t that great at firm gripping, not slipping or being useful while hiking. All of us were dying for a shower and something to eat by the time we got to the car, moaning on the ride home about various pains and conquering the mountain. As promised, my husband rewarded my bravery and stiff upper lip (not a euphemism) with the proverbial carrot on a stick that got me throught the morning:

Some people think it’s a waste to take in a heavy meal after all that feel-good exercise. Those people are wrong.


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