Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Hike from Hell

That might be an exaggeration, but not by a lot. And only in terms of its workout value.

This weekend, my friend Josie took the kids and me camping down by Otter Creek Reservoir. It was two days of laying out by the water watching the kids make it impossible for the fishermen to catch anything swim and a day in between for a five-hour hike.

(SIDEBAR: Why do fishermen always have facial hair? What are they hiding under there? A tattoo? A naughty tattoo? Oooh I know! A treasure map tattoo! That'd be the best place to hide one. No one would ever think to look there. And you know who else always has facial hair? Pirates. It makes total sense. Wait. Can you even grow hair through a tattoo or does it screw with the follicle? NOTE TO SELF: Strike up a conversation with a person with a tattoo. ANOTHER NOTE TO SELF: Make shadier and/or pirate friends.)

Only the finest literature for vacationing. I was on the chapter called, "Thanks for the zombies, Jesus." And no, I did not make that up.

So the hike, right?

On day two, we got up early and drove down to the trail head of Calf Creek Falls. The trail weaved alongside a creek wedged between red sandstone cliffs that seemed to stretch to the sky, and at the end of the 3-mile hike was the promise of a beautiful waterfall. At first the hike was fun and lalala and "Look at the cool hieroglyphs. That's either a horse or a badly injured elephant" (in that it was missing it's trunk)
"lalala. This is going to be the best hike ever! I'm so glad the kids are here!" psh. Vacation by yourself people. I'm telling you, it's the only way to go.

...and then my 4 yo son decided he was bored of walking. Now, I've taken Vin out on walks before. He can manage at least a mile of level terrain before collapsing in a heap and saying, "My legs are broken", which is really code for, "Exercise is for chumps, Mom." But on this hike, he barely walked a quarter mile in the sand and rocky hills before slumping down in the dirt. I knelt to coax him to get up, but he told me he had a splinter. So I managed to tweeze it out with my fingernails (a miracle) and bandage it before I noticed that we were squatting a few feet from a pile of dragon ants, who sensed our arrival and were scurrying towards us. I can only assume they were attracted to beauty, so I had to get out of there fast. I whipped Vin up on my back and hiked up the trail after the others. (SIDEBAR: I don't know if dragon ants are their official name, but it should be. They were all red and black and huge and [eyes averted] scaly. Probably. I'm gonna check online to see if it is a thing.

OK, here's what I imagined:
Notice how its vampire fangs come with serrated edges. I'm pretty sure it has a USB port on its back too. photo credit: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Giant_ant

But this is prolly more accurate:
These might actually be lawn ornaments. Shut up.Photo credit:  http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/junk/msg0713502430474.html
Anyway...where was I...)

Once Vin had grown accustomed to "riding" his way to the waterfall, he wouldn't have it any other way. Occasionally, I'd have to put him down, because I couldn't navigate the steepness of the rock with a 40-pound kid on my back. Then once he was off I could trick him into walking for awhile under the ruse that we were looking for a rock tall enough for him to stand on so that I wouldn't have squat for him to hop on my back. But mostly I carried my son on my back for almost 3 miles!

But that's not all.

I tried to get my daughter to carry our pack for me. A light pack with water, snacks, and sunscreen in it. She did. For two seconds. Then she started complaining that the pack was "hurting her shoulders", only imagine it in a shrill whine.

Can you believe that crap? I'm fricking hiking mountainous terrain with a pre-schooler on my back and she can't even carry a 5 pound pack on hers for FIVE MINUTES!

So, I carried it on my chest and Vin on my back.

I deserve an flipping medal.

When we got to Calf Creek Falls, Vin dismounted and I took a nap rested under the trees. The water was freezing, but in the 80 degree weather, it was nice to cool off. Plus the falls produced a fine mist that tickled my skin as I ate my peanut butter sandwich. The kids played and got soaked and had a great time. I took loads of pictures and tried not to resent my children enjoyed the experience.

Get used to this area, Vin. It's your new home.
It really was a beautiful place. I'd do it again, with less progeny of course.

When it was time to leave, I made Vin walk. I told him to race the other kids. I pretended to see a caveman and told him to "Come check it out. Hurry." I even told him I'd buy him an Ironman toy that he had been obsessing about for days. But in the end that little sonofa...awesome twenty-something supermodel marathon runner got his way. And I carried him back to the start on my back.

You ever feel like you're carrying more weight than you should be?
Or is someone carrying you?

That's right. You've been metaphored.
Here's another dragon ant I saw on the beach.

[SIDEBAR: My Sports Tracker GPS app on my phone said I burned a million calories on this hike. So it was prolly ok that I had s'mores that night and a non-diet Mt. Dew, right?]

[SIDEBAR AGAIN: By "a million" I mean a thousand. Something like 1,200 calories, and that's not including the additional 40 pounds I weight-lifted there and back.]

[LAST SIDEBAR, I SWEAR: I figured I only really carried Vin 3 of the 6 miles total, but Josie swears it was more like 5 out of 6. She's rarely wrong, so...yah. I burned a million calories.]

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