Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Grand Adventure...AKA Not for the Faint of Heart

This past Saturday I did what I do on many Saturdays. I went for a hike.

Only this hike was a little different. This hike started at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

And ended at the North Rim.

I have to say that even with all my preparation I was still very nervous. I went with a group of people from work, many of whom have already completed this hike. I have to say one of my FAVORITE (insert sarcasm) conversations with one of my co-hikers was with the nice gentleman who reminded me that in parts of the hike there is a 4000 foot sheer drop.

He said that if you fall they don't bother looking for you because you'll be in pieces anyway.

YES!!! Just what I needed to hear just before this hike!! Made me feel SOOOO much better!!

So, understandably, I got very little sleep the night before.

I was up at 3:00 a.m. getting ready and we got to the South Kaibab trailhead at about 5. It was already light out so I did not need by headlamp. As we descended into the Canyon, we were treated to some spectacular views. This was really a treat!!

And we hiked down on switchbacks that looked like this......

And as we were strolling down to the bottom, I was thinking we need a little excitement to make this REALLY worth our while. So, I provided some entertainment. I gave the group a little display of my ever stunning grace. In other words....er...hmmmm......I fell. It wasn't just a little trip. No....no.....I had to make it good. It was a doozy. I twisted my ankle and scrapped my knee up pretty good. Luckily, I had several fellow hikers around me who were experts at dealing with stressful situations......and providing top notch first aid. I got assistance with a makeshift gauze, tape, and bandaid knee wrap, and one of my fellow hikers offered up his trekking pole. Very gallant!! (BTW, I will not go on another long hike without at least one of these again). And then off I went.... Someone asked me later if I was going to continue to hike. My thought was......did I have a choice. There are after all only three ways out....mule, helicopter, hike. Not fond off mules and helicopter=$$$$$. So, as long as I could walk I would be leaving the canyon on my own two feet!!!

Anyways, as we were heading to Phantom Ranch, I was telling the group how my husband was going to meet me at Ribbon Falls.

"What time is he leaving?" someone asked.

"5 a.m."

"He is going to get there long before you do."

Now I should have clued in on this statement and realized one very important thing.....my husband is not a patient man. If I had done this, what happened next would not have been a surprise. As we were approaching Phantom Ranch, I saw a familiar figure coming towards us. And then I got this sinking feeling. My husband and his friend, Tony, hiked from the North Rim all the way to Phantom Ranch. 14 MILES!!!!! And they had to go 14 miles out....with a woman with a bum ankle!!!! This was going to be interesting, or so I thought. It actually was not bad at all.

After stopping at Phantom, soaking my foot in the stream and refilling my water, we headed off. This was really my favorite part. I had done a lot of studying prior to this hike and read that this section could be torture due to the sweltering heat inside the canyon. But we were very fortunate. The weather was very pleasant. Overcast and mild. We got rained on a bit for the next seven miles. It was very nice!! I loved this portion though because it was like walking through a peaceful valley. Very green with the stream running along the trail.

We stopped to take a picture along one of the many bridges along the way. NOTE: The very lovely bandaged left knee!!!

After about seven miles of this type of scenery.....came hell. Or so that is what I was told. Was it difficult? Hell yeah!! But as I described it later it was kind of like labor. You forget about the pain shortly after it is over. So we trudged on slowly taking breaks. As Tony said it was not a race.

I will say I did find the elevation a little unnerving at times. I had been told there were some really narrow areas along the trail and that it was a sheer drop. One part of that was not really true. The trail was not as narrow as I thought it was going to be. The narrowest point was about 4 feet. That wasn't really bad.

There was, however, a sheer drop. As I trudged upward, I looked over towards the edge a couple of times. I think it was on the second glance I decided that I would NOT be doing this again. Yes....it wasn't the distance nor the gazillion switchbacks that made me say "I am never doing this again ." No siree!!! It was my fear of heights. Yep....I think once is enough.

And just to give you an idea of the drop....I took a picture. I wanted to put an arrow to point out the trail but since I'm photoshop illiterate that wasn't going to happen. So if you look at the right side, about half way up, you'll see what I'm saying. See the wall....see the drop.....hmmm...yeah!!

Anyways, I think the last two miles were the hardest. I don't know if it was just because I knew we were so close. Or if I was just tired from my lack of sleep. Or maybe, it was the mule trail we were stuck behind stopping every 100 feet or so, and leaving deposits along the way. YUCK!! Whatever it was......it took forever!!!! It made getting to the end so much sweeter!!!

When I finished all I could think about was a shower, food, and a margarita!!! We stayed at the North Rim Lodge. OMG!! What a beautiful place!! This was the view from the dining room. Can you believe it!?! AWESOME!!!

Oh....and I also surveyed the damage my body took from the fall. WARNING: People who are freaked out at the sight of feet may not want to look....

Here's what my knee looked like the next day. Hmmmm....not too bad. Considering all the blood gushing out of it the prior day.

And this is the ankle.....The picture was taken on our drive back the next day. Yep....hiked about 17 miles on this beauty. Needless to say, I spent the next two days with my feet up and lots of ice packs!!!!

I'm glad I did it but I'm also glad it's over. Time to start training for the next endeavor.

Hmmm....Seven Summit Challenge in November......We'll see.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Making of a Hero

Many, many moons ago when my son was four years old he had a rather terrifying experience. Actually, it started out more terrifying for me....

My husband and I were watching TV when we heard this blood curling scream. You know, it's the kind of scream that sends the stomaches of all mothers right down into their toes. Makes their hearts stop. Where they are certain that they are going to find their children (or at least one of their children) in the most horrifying of conditions.

In this particular situation, the scream came from my son. We both ran to the bathroom to find him cowered in a corner and pointing at the floor. There we saw the dreaded scorpion. You know....those things that roam around all Arizona homes and wreak havoc and terror on all inhabitants!!!!

"I STEPPED ON THE SCORPION!!!!!!" he yelled.

As a mother, I did the best I could to comfort him. I carried him upstairs with big sister lingering not far behind. I washed the bottom of his foot and inspected it for any sign of injury. I then called Poison Control. I did all of this while he continuously wailed.

While I was on the phone with Poison Control, he wailed at the top of his lungs and yelled "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!!!" The lady at poison control chuckled in the background and said, "Tell him he's not going to die".

Why do I write of this.....well possibly, because, eighteen years later, this is what I think of when he calls me at 7:30 on a Friday morning to tell me of how he worked to give aid to a dying man the night before. He tried to save a life he couldn't save.

Wow....how quickly time goes by and how fast things change.

He couldn't slay scorpions when he was 4....but as an adult, he is facing bigger obstacles everyday.

I am so proud of my son.....I am so proud of both of my children.

They constantly amaze me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A New 'Do and Dental Humor (If there is such a thing)

I'm in between dental appointments right now so I thought this would be a good time to do a blog post. So what's new? Well I'd like to say I had a vision on Saturday morning that the derby winner would be a 50-1 longshot and I made off with a boat load of winnings. But no, that did not happen!!! Although one of the guys in our group did bet on Mine the Bird just on a whim and made off with 1000 smackeroos!! This would be Exhibit 1 as to why I will never win big. I am way too conservative.

Well that brings be to the most exciting thing (in my boring life) of the past couple of weeks. I finally went to my hair girl and got a new 'do. Oh, and some coloring too. The gray was becoming too dominant on my head!! So, here is the new me.....

The new look past the most important test.....my husband really liked it. He said (and I quote), "You look younger." This made me chuckle. When I pointed out the picture of this haircut to the younger hair girl, her response was...."That's an old lady cut." Misty, my young friend, it's just a matter of perspective. :)

In other news, I have a dental appointment in , oh, about 40 minutes. My crown came out this weekend while eating my share of a brownie sundae (yeah I thought I'd bit on something a little too hard!). I went in this morning and the dentist decided he was going to have to do more than just replace the crown :( UGH!! So I'm going back for a longer appt. I did get a chuckle this morning as he was looking at the displaced crown. I had looked at it earlier in the week and noticed the inside was dark. I thought, wow, that's a lot of cement. Well, it wasn't cement....
The doc was looking at it and said "What is that in there?" He said it with that lilt that made me think "Uh oh!" My mind started racing...what did I do? Then it dawned on me....I little piece of brownie was inside the crown....and it's been there for the last six days!!!! GROSS!! I'm betting my dentist just loved that!! Glad that crown is not going back on my tooth.

Well got to head out to see the torturer...i mean...the dentist. Smiles everyone!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Horse, Paper, Scissors

Today, many of my fellow scrapbookers will gather to spend an entire day of putting together pictures with pretty paper. They will gather, socialize, and catch up on some long overdue pages. Me? Well...In a twist on the Rock, Paper, Scissors game where Horse replaces Rock.....Horse won.

I will don my cute little hat and head to north Phoenix where I will close my eyes and pretend there are steeples around. I will surround myself with the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home" and mint juleps. Yep, I will gather with a few thousand others in the Valley of the Sun at Turf Paradise and celebrate what the second Saturday in May has meant for 135 years. It's Derby Saturday!!!! So I won't be scrapbooking. Instead I'll just tick off all the PETA people in the world.

For the last couple of weeks, my husband has been analyzing the field. Making up charts and everything! Seriously! Me....well I have a more scientific way of determining the winner.

Him: Who are you going with for the Derby?

Me: The gray horse.

Him: Why?

Me: Because it's gray. ;)

Now my husband has assured me that the gray horse, otherwise known as Dunkirk, is a very good pick. So I'm going to pair him up in an exacta with a horse that I was destined to wager on. I mean, for the love of all things chocolate, how can I pass up on a horse named Chocolate Candy. Really!

So I'm ready to head watch the most exciting two minutes in sports....(well, kinda.....it's going to be on TV) and maybe I'll even sip on a Mint Julep :0.

Wish me Luck!!!!!