Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lessons I have learned while hiking with E2.


There was a point in the not so distant past when I was seeing two Erik's at once. So as not to get them confused, I very cleverly named them E1 and E2. Since E2 was the second one to appear on the scene, he was thusly dubbed.

A little about him, just so we can get a sense of where I'm coming from and the message I will try to convey in this post.

He is a FREAK OF NATURE. To put it simply.

He is one of those people that literally doesn't go a day without some form of exercise. He races mountain bikes. He rock climbs. He runs. He snowboards. He hikes. My god, he hikes.

If I can shuffle my way up to the accounting department in the day (5 stairs) I feel monumentally victorious. It defies all logic that the two of us spend any amount of time together at all. However. We do. Case in point...this weekend.
It being Presidents Day yesterday, we had a three day weekend. We decided to trot on down to Moab where the sun is always shining and I could wear my tank tops and flip flops. Yes. I really did pack them. Lay off.

The sun was not shining and it was in fact very, very cold.

Not to be deterred, we planned for a full day of various hikes in the different parks. One of them being a little known hike to an ancient Puebloan false Kiva. And so the Lessons began.

Lesson #1. Communicate
A nature walk and a hike mean two very different things to different people. Ensure each member of the party has agreed upon, and fully understands the applicable definition and accompanying implications of said chosen hike including, but not limited to:

-Will the hike involve any sort of vertical climbing?
-Should I supply my own oxygen?
-Is this the sort of hike that will last minutes or hours?
-Will I, at any given point, fear for my safety?
-Should I have packed my snowsuit?
-Will I ever enjoy the luxuries of civilization again?
-Am I being punished for some unintentional wrong I may have committed?
-Will by body ever be recovered?

Lesson #2. Sand Sucks
When the wind blows in the desert, and OH, it will blow, keep your mouth shut. Unless your life is in jeopardy, there is nothing important enough to be said that's worth chewing down on grit for the next two hours.
Same goes for your eyes. Although you won't be able to keep them completely closed, think Asian. If you happen to have a pair of flight goggles, use them. There is a lot of sand in the desert and chances are good that you will do permanent damage to your retinas.

Lesson #3. Don't Be A Hero

When you're on the edge of a precariously steep cliff side and the wind is blowing you so hard you're about to pitch off the side and plummet to your doom, there is absolutely no shame in stopping and getting a firm death grip on the nearest rock and holding on for dear, precious life. Big effing deal if E2 is forging ahead without pause. At 170 He's got a good 50lbs on the average girl and with his pack of camera equipment at another 50lbs he's up by 100! He's solid and not going anywhere. Bastard.

Lesson #4. Don't give up!

It's cold. Frigidly numbingly cold. Did I mention the wind? It was cold. But just because you have more snot dripping out of your nose than all the children of Moab combined, it's no reason to quit. No one likes a quitter. Except for Satan. And Jane Fonda.

Lesson #5. You don't completely suck. (except ya kinda do)

Just when you think it can't get any worse, it will rain on you. You will have your breath snatched away from the miserable combination of extreme physical exertion, the glacial, biting wind and icy cold drops of precipitation plastering your filthy, dirt encrusted hair to your face.
But do not be dismayed by this! The rain does serve it's purpose. It will perfectly camouflage the torrent of tears streaming from your sand scratched eyes and no one will be the wiser in knowing what a wimpy, out of shape cubicle dweller you really are.