Every time I visited my grandpa growing up, I’d ask, “How are you, Grandpa?” And he’d always reply, “Oh, I’m doing pretty good…‘course I lie a lot.”
What I’m saying is…
I didn’t really almost die on the side of the mountain. That may have been a touch exaggerated. But I DID slide down it for a bit on my butt, and that was pretty terrible.
Okay, the actual story. Because it came to my attention last week that I have a tendency to only share all the fun/happy/exciting things going on in my life on social media. (To be fair, there really are a lot of fun/happy/exciting things to share, BUT I am totally guilty of highlight reeling and forgetting to include the not-as-awesome parts). So here goes with the less awesome part.
For the record, I LOVE hiking. We are so incredibly stoked about all the hiking opportunities here – they’re basically endless! I love that it’s a great workout, but you get to have fun doing it. I love that it reconnects me with nature and God and quiet. I love the quality time with my husband and my dog. I love the smell of the mountain air and the insane views.
That said, it can definitely be challenging. Which is usually great, but sometimes not. So last Saturday, we decided to try a hike known as “The Living Room” trail. Once you get to the summit, there are several couch-like structures built from rocks, hence, the living room. The trail itself intertwines with several others and while the paths are well-worn, none of them are marked whatsoever. So, it’s a big guessing game of which direction to go. Sure, we could have asked the abounding locals around who probably do this trail every other week, but nahhh….
Well, turns out, we took the difficult route. It was very rocky, with some heavy thicket patches that my clothes kept catching on, and got verrrrrry steep at points. On one occasion, I lost my footing and did genuinely picture myself tumbling down the mountainside that was approximately one inch away. But we powered through (seriously, still transitioning to both 1. the altitude and 2. hiking shape – hello, glutes!). We made it to the top, which is how I learned that we took the hard way, because there were tons of people up there taking pictures, and I hadn’t seen a dang one of them on our route up.
But then, to make things even harder on ourselves, after two hours and some pretty shaky legs already, we somehow also managed to take the wrong path DOWN.
There were seemingly two choices, and within one minute of heading down, I knew we’d picked the wrong one.
Y’all. This “trail” was almost completely vertical down the side of the mountain. Not only that, it was made up of straight-up tiny gravel, so you absolutely could not get your footing. You just kept sliding. I’d fall, scrape my hands and my butt, stand and repeat.
Somehow, miraculously, we managed to make it about halfway down. My husband is a good 20 feet ahead of me with our dog. I look around and can’t figure out where to take my next step. And I just KNOW I’m going to fall. There’s no way around it. I’m the clumsiest damn person I know. So I panic. And that’s when it happened. I had a meltdown.
Me: “WE WENT THE WRONG WAY! I’M GOING TO FALL! WHY DID WE GO THIS WAY? LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE WAY OVER THERE WHO WE SAW AT THE SUMMIT AND ARE ALREADY DOWN THE MOUNTAIN ON THE NORMAL TRAIL! I’M SO MAD RIGHT NOW!”
Husband, calmly: “Well, we’re half way down now, so we can either try to go back up and take the easy way, or we can just finish going down. Whatever you want to do.”
Me: *Slowly sits down exactly where I am.*
You guys. Thank heavens the Lord blessed me with a patient man. He was so good. Talked me down off my metaphorical and literal cliff. We made it to the bottom probably twenty minutes later and once we joined all the rest of the fools we’d seen at the top, joyfully gliding down the mountain on their easy trail, I finally recomposed myself and apologized for losing my shit. Which was when my husband started to giggle uncontrollably.
Me: “What? What’s so funny?”
Husband (through giggles): “You….Just….Sat….Down. (more giggles) I said we had two choices, and you just sat down.”
It’s giving me the giggles now just thinking about it. Good thing we love each other so much.
In the end, the views were 100 percent worth it! The trip up, while tough, was phenomenal and beautiful and peaceful. The trip down could have been better, but I did learn an important lesson. Sometimes taking the wrong way makes for the best stories, (if you survive to tell them)!
Or, in a much more eloquent way, “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Thanks, Robert Frost.