Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Weekend Peak Experiences!

The Memorial Day weekend was fated to be just another holiday weekend, but then a friend stepped in and invited me to join the group hiking up Harney's Peak in South Dakota. I laughed and said something like "yeah, right", but he kept at me telling me it was easy, a hike rated "moderate" so that even little kids did it. The more I thought about it the more attractive it sounded. My possibly last chance to see areas of the country that I'd otherwise never get to see. We'd fly to Denver and then drive through Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota.

I said I wasn't in any kind of shape for trekking through the wilderness, but he kept saying the trail to Harney's Peak was "easy", a moderate climb, even little kids, blah, blah, blah. I finally said "okay", but don't expect much of me in the way of stamina. He sent me to SummitPost.org to read all about the climb. I was truly hooked when I saw the photos!

Sure enough, little kids were scampering around like mountain goats.

So I started accumulating gear. First I went to Sun and Ski Sports and got a good pair of hiking boots. Then I bought some stuff online like hiking poles - one for each hand! Ultimately I wandered into REI and fell in love with their clothes! Who wouldn't love pants with more pockets than you could ever fill up? I spent a couple of hundred bucks in there without breaking a sweat. I forced myself to get on my recumbent bike and peddle during Astro's ballgames. I used the "mountains" setting and never did climb one of those for very long, but I was feeling like I was doing something to make life easier on the trek.

Thursday, May 24th finally arrived. D-Day. Departure into the great unknown. Ready or not, here I come! The plane ride to Colorado was delayed an hour due to bad weather elsewhere so we arrived an hour later than planned. By the time we got the rental Jeep and started out for Cheyenne it was dark. I didn't get to see anything of Denver except the inside of this really cool diner. I don't recall the name of it, but it was straight out of Happy Days. It took awhile to get everyone fed, but there was so much to see on the walls that it was fun waiting.

We spent the first night at The Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a town I fell in love with at first light. The hotel was comfortable enough except that the curtains didn't cover the windows, they just looked nice! I did the best I could, but the street light shined in all night long. Next crack of the whip the sun came crashing in at, I swear, 5-something! WTF! I'm positive I didn't sleep a wink. Not even one of those nights where you think you didn't but you actually caught the odd hour or so and woke up 90 times. Luckily a shower and coffee and the excitement of impending adventure kept me awake and kicking all through the very long day.

I've put my photos of the trip up at SmugMug so go and see them if you like.

The round trip up the mountain usually takes fit folk about 3 hours. "Ranger" Rick, the Pied Piper of Hikers, ran circles around me. He'd gallop off down the trail, next thing I'd know he was on top of some big outcropping wishing he was free to climb like the monkey he is! He urged me, but never nagged. He was bored with all the rest stops I HAD to take in order to catch my breath and regain some kind of normal heartbeat, but he never said....much. The rest of the group was not as patient, they were there to have fun, not nursemaid an old lady who's idea of exercise is right clicking on a mouse's back! I almost never saw them again!

Sure enough there were kids on the trail! But someone neglected to say that a LOT of those kids were being toted by their parental units! The ones that were Free To Be were hyper little turkeys that probably had sweetened cereal for breakfast and chocolate along the way. The kind of kid that never walks when he can hop. We were passed by folks who later passed us again on their way back down! They were all nice and must belong to the secret society that says "not much farther, just a little bit more" when they were lying like sumbitches!

At the first mile I thought I'm not dead, but I'm not enjoying this either. At the second mile I thought just kill me now and get it over with. By the time the view of the last remaining stairs before you get to the last possible stairs before you get to the killer stairs to the orgasmic culmination of the Peak experience became visible I thought they'll find my body on the stairs and bury me here. I told one couple that my services would be at 2 the next afternoon!

To add insult to injury people were riding HORSES up the trail. I offered one guy 100 bucks for a ride and he just laughed. I guess he thought I was joking. On the down side, bad enough was walking over the uneven ground and rocks, but add to that joy avoiding horse droppings that perfumed the air with their very freshness! We were picking up the odd bits of litter along the way but there was no way I was doing parade patrol behind the Calvary! Peeeuuuu.

I made it. 7 miles total. 8 hours and 20 minutes. Only one pee in the morning before I left my motel room! I am woman, hear my labored breathing! But you knew that or I wouldn't of been writing this long post! If you've stuck with it this long, God love you! Your name must be Betty because I can count on her to wade through my prattle! I'll probably write something on the rest of the trip as this is my online diary and it's good to record things like this so that once you're completely recovered you can look back and say "it wasn't so bad after all. I did it! I'm good! I might consider something like that again, but only after I get in better shape".....

I think maybe the bottom line is that if you want something badly enough you should die trying to attain it. No, oops, that's not right. Hmmm...where there's life there's always a chance? Move it or lose it? Just do it? Haste makes waste? Never invite old ladies on the trail? Oh, hell, I'm not sure what the bottom line is, but I'm so honored to have been along for the ride and I just hope they all know I didn't mean a thing I said in the heat of the ordeal. I have to run my mouth in order for my feet to work...honest...it's hereditary!

Stay tuned for more "peaks" and a few valleys!


Attila The Mom said...

Wow, beautiful pics!

I really adore Cheyenne. The people up there are so friendly!

Lainey said...

What a blast you must have had!

Them are some big rocks and hills!

jonxblaze said...

Those are great pictures, how was the weather? Wasn't it too hot for hiking?

- Jon @ Houston Website Design

TxGoodie said...

Welcome, Jon...

Your question deserves its own post to respond to so I will do so!

Thanks for stirring my responsive urges again....