Next planned activity? A hike. At dinner the night before there was quite a bit of talk about a 14-er, as in "I think we should do a 14-er," "You guys up for a 14-er?" "A 14-er would be awesome!" Have M and I been lured here for some weird group sex thing? I leaned over and whispered to M, "What is a 14-er?" "The climb distance," he whispered back and then immediately got right back into the conversation as if I was a three year old asking to go potty. Hmmm, what 14 feet, 1400 feet? I guess it was doable if I brought plenty of water, a lunch and some cliff bars, maybe an apple, a banana, plenty of healthy snacks. Those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I'm just a slip of a girl and need plenty of fortification, as can be seen from my nickname, "Big lummox."
After dinner we all went into the little mountain shops to gear up for the hike. You may recall my bathroom mate, the beautiful F. She and her husband H (I have known him since I was 7 and he was 2, we are like family and he can say whatever he wants but I don't think he was looking forward to this Bataan Death March either ) were picking out some "gear" for F to wear during the hike. So far she had chosen a pair of shorts that would fit Maisie from the American Doll Collection, an adorable t shirt made for hiking while apparently showing off both cleavage and miniscule hips, and a visor that would have made me look sort of like Phil Mickelson, but on her was of course stunning. I began browsing, looking for the perfect outfit for my climb. M was right there to help me. "You better get some thin socks, "he suggested. "Those boots look pretty tight on you."
That night, R, who owned our beautiful mountain retreat and who I considered our team leader, told everyone to cut their toenails very short. WTF? I thought. Is this a nature hike or a day at the beach with a match.com date? I mean R always looks perfect, I would gladly take her advice on hair styling and make up, but toenail length? TMI. I think I am old enough to decide how long I like my toenails. Dude. Come on.
Morning comes, (again unfortunately), and after a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, (blech,where is my vacation breakfast eggs benedict???) and fruit we head out to our climbing spot. We are at the base of a mountain and I cannot see the top. I tell M, "So, this is what 1400 feet looks like." "No." he answered. "This is what 14,000 feet looks like." Huh? Isn't 14,000 feet like for astronauts? These people are seriously crazy. How had I never noticed this before?
At this point, I am starting to get a kind of bad feeling sort of like I felt when my labor really kicked in and I realized there was more to pregnancy then getting to eat whatever you want. To begin with, I am already saddled down with extra weight. Since M is carrying the back pack full of my fortifying snacks, I am stuck with the fanny pack holding the camera. I snap it into place and begin to trudge forward. A few feet up I see F laid out on a rock posing for a photo; think of an Ecuadorian Marilyn Monroe pin up shot. R is practically running up the mountain, "Isn't this gorgeous?" she keeps yelling down to me. I have already downed two bottles of water and we haven't left the base yet.
I would love to tell you how beautiful this experience was, and how close to God I felt climbing this magnificent mountain. However, I believe I became delirious somewhere around 4,000 feet and really have no memory of making it to the top. I do know I actually experienced it as there is a photo of all of us at the top, where the gang is smiling proudly and I am leering like a deranged psychopath who wandered into their group photo clutching a melted granola bar.
We begin to trek down. As we make our descent, I start
to come around. I am instantly racked with pain as my big toenails make contact over and over with the front of my boots. Why didn't I listen when R suggested I sand these things down? This was a girl who in 7th grade home ec sewing, was whipping out silk dashikis while I was sitting next to her trying to sew a straight line on a place mat. Did I not learn anything from that experience?
Blinded by pain, I failed to notice the low hanging tree branch next to me and before I knew what was happening, my fanny pack caught on it and I began to fall. "I'm down!" I screamed. Behind me was H. Ever valiant my childhood friend, he yelled out, "Please! We need help! Does anyone have a bandaid?" Lucky for me, a family with three little kids and a basset hound were making their way up and the dad pulled one out of his first aid kit, without ever breaking stride. I pictured M and H carrying me down on a stretcher made from twigs as there was no way a medivac helicopter could land in this harsh terrain. After I died from the infected scratch on my knee, M would tell everyone, " I will miss her. She was such a trooper."
In reality M was telling me to keep moving as a storm was coming and it did, just as we hit the bottom of the mountain. With a scraped knee and the throbbing beginnings of two ingrown toe nails, I dragged myself up into the huge rented Tahoe and we made our way out to the main road and headed home. "If only," I thought. If only a 14er HAD been a weird sex thing, it would have been over hours ago, and I could have made happy hour.
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