Monday, September 5, 2011

New Rule: Four-Mile Loops From Now On Or I'll Break Your Face

What. Are. You. Looking. At.
We went on a great hike this weekend on Mt. Tam. And by great, I mean I only broke out into an Amazing Race style breakdown once. But it lasted for two miles. 

Sweetums was coming off a week-long conference, and me, well I've just been trying to keep my grip on reality.
Side Note: Sometimes I get a little melodramatic, and I just want y'all to know that I use words like "losing my grip on reality" and "breakdown" loosely these days. I'm totally ok.
So we needed an escape from the fog and a little Vitamin D boost to make the holiday weekend feel like a holiday weekend. Some friends told us about this hike, which looked awesome to me because I love hikes that make me feel like I'm actually in the woods, as opposed to those open, dusty, pollen infested meadow hikes. I'm not a meadow girl, never have been. I love dense overhead canopies, babbling brooks and little wooden bridges. (Which is why the Dipsea is one of my favorite Bay Area hikes of all time. If you're visiting the Bay Area, I beg you, go on a hike instead of Fisherman's Wharf. You'll thank me.)

When you talk about hikes, most people talk about things like loops and difficulty and exposure and hiking time. When Sweetums showed me our hike, I thought, "Oh, 6.5 mile loop... That sounds great!" And the additional description of:
"This loop is a tour de force of the mountain's magic: you'll experience dense forests, aromatic chaparral, rushing creeks, waterfalls, and flower-dotted meadows."
I was completely sold. And y'all, 6.5 miles is not that bad. My friends run circles around 6.5 miles for breakfast. I was a college athlete. I can walk 6.5 miles.

But when you factor in the climb, which they sheepishly called "a pleasant ascent" or "now the trail will begin a short climb," (and the fact that I was in college 10 years ago) 6.5 miles is a nice little workout. Thank goodness I got my hot pink and orange running shoes on.

The Start.

By the way, this is not a real hiking outfit. I just don't have it in me to wear cargo pants anymore. But I did see a woman wearing a hiking skirt, which I thought was a great idea. Is that ridiculous? By the way, if you google hiking skirt, you'll get stuff like this, which is ok I guess.

For the first three miles of the hike, everything was coming up roses. I was taking pictures every three steps, breathing in the beauty arms stretched and yelping, "Look at this, look at it! This is where we live!"

This is fog. And underneath it is San Francisco. Which is why we weren't in San Francisco.

We were a happy little family of hikers.

Did you know that chihuahuas can't really hike 6.5 mile loops?

We didn't think to bring her little carrier backpack, so we had to fashion a sling out of my sweatshirt to carry her the last three miles.

And then we argued over who was going to carry me the last three miles.

This is about the time that I started my own pleasant ascent.

I ran out of water and began panicking about dehydration. We still had two miles left, and my hips were starting to ache. At every little trickle of stream, I paused and debated scooping some up into my water bottle. I started thinking about the fact that we didn't have a pocket knife to cut off any arms that get caught under boulders when we fall. We didn't have cell reception or pocket flares, and all of the sudden every other hiker that passed us looked like Creepy Hiker Guy Who Wants To Kill Us. I was searching every inch of ground looking for bodies, either left behind by Creepy Hiker Guy or victims of dehydration. We were stuck in the vast wilderness COMPLETELY UNPREPARED!

We had no way of reaching the outside world, civilization. 

And the bugs. The bugs came around mile 5 and hung out until mile 6.3. They were everywhere. Buzzing and being all gnatty, they were going to choke me to death and set up camp in my ears and nostrils. I was losing it, losing my grip. Get these f'ing BUGS OFF ME!! I can't TAKE IT! I'M OUT OF WATER!! We're never getting OUT OF HERE! This trail leads to NOWHERE!

Honestly, I didn't know how much more of this I could take.

But of course it's called a loop for a reason. Luckily, we made it back around to the beginning in one piece, but it was touch and go there for a while.

Ginger was very happy to be back in the comforts of the car. She still hasn't forgiven us.

And me, well I made it out ok, too. 
But I stand firm that we will only be doing four-mile loops from now on. 

The payoff? The ride home. 

Gaaa. I still pinch myself that I live here. 

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