Monday, August 30, 2004

Tomorrow's Busy Day Off

Tomorrow's day off will start before 8am, but the real part will start at 8am. Because at 8am I will be going where I would say everyone in the world hates to go. The DENTIST. And the reason that dentists supposedly have the highest suicide rate of any profession is because everyone hates them. When I first went to this dentist I answered the following two questions like this:

How often do you floss? What is floss? The hygienist thought it was funny and said that my teeth weren't that bad.

Have you ever had a bad dentist experience? Yes, every dentist experience is bad. (To myself: except the oral surgeon who put me out and gave me good drugs for the pain)

So last night I thought I would give flossing a going. Lets back track 14 years or so...the typical teenager with braces, but mine were cool. When I finally got them off for the second time, they placed a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth. It spans across the front 6. I have always hated it for various reasons. One being that it is a bitch to floss behind it. Now flash back to last night...After last night, it really isn't that difficult anymore. I finagled the floss behind the retainer, flossed a tooth, and proceeded to move it over to the next tooth. OH SHIT. Now there are two pieces that are cemented to two teeth and then the bar goes across. Yea, it would have been great to snap off the piece cemented because they could just cement it back on. But NOOOOO, I had to snap the metal off the metal. I walk out to BF and say Houston, we have a problem. I could barely talk because the thing was sticking up and I was drooling. I was able to push it down and I guess secure it for the night. Although I am not sure how much metal I swallowed because shortly thereafter I pulled out a shaving of metal. I am alive though so doing well. I realized after chomping down on a Wendy's french frie that I will be having soup from Banditos tonight. They have great tortilla soup.

Anywho, I have an appointment at 8am tomorrow. I can just see the dentist pulling out a little welding torch. I called my orthodontist in Arizona and asked if I could just remove it. They said come in and we will have to see. I said sure, that is a 11 hour drive and I don't live in the same state. She suggested I keep it on so my teeth don't shift. What does she know? Of course last night I kept saying to BF that my teeth were moving. So that starts my day.

Well not really...but kind of...waking up starts the day...

The parentals are coming tomorrow afternoon for the interrogation dinner with the BF. This is their first time meeting him. Of course being SC (senior citizens) they are having trouble with his name. I am more nervous than he is. He just laughs about it all. My dad is a very direct person "Will you be able to support my daughter". HAHA. Mostly, he will ask that so I can get off his payroll. I have asked them to come after 3pm because

The housekeeper should be done cleaning the 500 square foot apartment. You think I am joking, however; I am completely serious. Having a housekeeper come to my apartment was the talk of headquarters when it first happened. I didn't understand what the big deal was. I have had a housekeeper my entire life. It is just normal life to me. I used to have some great ones that did my laundry as well, but I already did that today. So anyway, tomorrow before she comes I need to clean the place. WHAT? I know how that sounds. And when I was younger and my dad would say that to me, I never understood it until I realized that housekeepers move stuff and you can't find it. I am a very OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) person and kind of get freaked when they dust and don't put the things back in the right order. But then again, I can't complain too much. So I really don't have to clean, but straighten up.

I have to do a little grocery shopping because I don't stock food in my house. I never eat here anyway so I just have the staples: coke, pringles, some fruit, tortillas, cheese, coke, eggs, coke, chai, frozen burritos. Boss Lady's child was selling burritos for something, sports team or something and I bought like 15 of them so I could freeze them and eat them for lunch. Most of the time I end up throwing away food.

So there is a lot to do before going out to dinner with the parentals and BF. I need to sit them down and discuss a few items:

1. His name is ....
2. What questions do you plan on asking him?

Wish me well...not for the dinner, but the dentist.

PS. I posted photos to my photo blog. They are a little old, but good. Enjoy!

QUESTION OF THE BLOG: Why can't men clean the lint out of the dryer?

Well, well, well...I am alive almost. So I went to the dentist this morning and of course they couldn't repair it. But it was funny because the dentist said something about using a blow torch. Ever notice that dentist always ask you questions when they have their hands in your mouth? What is that about?

So anyway, this was the plan....they were going to take off the retainer, make a mold of my bottom teeth, and then put a new one on in 2 weeks. Seems simple enough. I hate the dentist. I was ringing my hands today and I could feel the sweat developing. I think it is primarily the noise. So he is attempting to remove the retainer. The retainer is a piece of thin metal about 1/2 inch long. Could be smaller or bigger, but I have never been very good with size as I am female and have been lied to all my life. Anyway, all of the sudden the thin piece of metal comes loose. And does it pop nicely out my mouth? No, it drops down towards my throat. You've been to the dentist before, they have you reclined with your feet damn near in the air and your head damn near touching the floor. Who panicked more? I think they did really. Immediately she grabbed the suction, but I was already bolting straight up and bent over at the waist. The thin piece of metal would not be going down my throat and I would not be going to the hospital to have my throat or stomach pumped. Surprisingly they stepped back as I coughed and coughed and coughed until that thin piece of metal fell down on the seat.

Are you okay? How do you answer that without sounding like you just brushed death? Then the grinding came to remove the cement. And then that awful mold of the teeth. I actually didn't gag through the process as I normally do. 180 dollars later, I feel like a new person. Of course that will be only for 2 weeks because in that time another retainer will be put back on. I can't wait---another dentist appointment.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Reptile Blood

When I was 1 year old, my father packed my family up and moved us to Arizona from Iowa. I am sure if it was in the summer, but I would assume so since there were 6 others in school and I am sure they weren't uprooted in the middle of the school year. I know that first winter in Arizona, my brothers and sisters were swimming in the pool and their friends thought they were crazy. But I suppose when you grow up in Iowa where there are true winters, 60 degrees in the winter is like a high in Iowa. I never endured a true winter. A couple of times it snowed where we lived, but not often. Our town in the summertime is normally the hottest place in the nation next to Death Valley. But a winter that includes snow, sleet, hail, and freezing temperatures just isn't something I had to endure too often. Going to college, I had to endure that winters with snow a little bit, but I spent those winters on the mountain skiing so to me it wasn't a winter. Of course my GPA shows how well I did in college, but I had fun and that is what counts or is it the degree that counts.

Last year I started working in this park. One June, July, or August morning, I leave my residence to go to work. I hear B-Boy say "what are you doing?" He's from Pennsylvania. I said going to work. He said you are wearing a jacket. I said it is cold outside. It was probably 70-80 degrees.

I used to play tennis mid-afternoon in 115 degree weather and barely broke a sweat. Of course that was probably because I wasn't drinking water, but nonetheless, I love the heat. I think my blood has turned cold blooded like the reptiles. Come winter, I like to hibernate somewhere warm. Last year I return to the area to a 2 week inversion and did not see the sun for those 2 weeks. I was seriously depressed as I had just spent December in Phoenix in sandals, jeans, and short-sleeve shirts.

So yesterday I walked out of BF's house and released I was going to have to pull out the jacket. High yesterday was supposed to be 87 degrees. I did not put the jacket on, but I did run the heater in the vehicle for most of the morning. I'll take 100+ degrees (of course with no humidity) over cold weather any day.

Coldness is here so it is time to bundle up. Of course most people in the area are saying the weather is just starting to get nice. But what do they know.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Add Sheep Herder to the Resume

Yesterday was a day where everything runs smoothly and nothing goes right. As you might know from the previous blog, I was stung on Thursday by a wasp/hornet. Wearing my duty gear and vest on Friday inflamed the spot to 3 times its size. On Friday, I also had a lecture from G-Baby about drinking water. That didn't got over well when I walked into the office with a coke in my hand. So yesterday I walked into his office and said since you are my supervisor today, I would just like to wear my gun because everything else is going to rub that sting to 10 times its size. He agreed and then said DRINK WATER. I showed him I had some. Reason I don't like to drink water is because it makes me pee and then I have to take all that damn life saving gear off. So I head out to work.

I headed into the park and started doing my patrol. At some point the SO called me and 10-36ed me. It is a welfare check. Then channel four (local) chimed.

G-Baby: 226/221
Me: 226.
G-Baby: You drinking water?
Me: Um, yea.
G-Baby: That would be a no.

Then Flapper got on the radio and said a bunch of stuff I couldn't understand, but I did catch "I am not going to carry your 10-130 (weight 10-code) out." I am grateful that she gave me a 130. I didn't hear her conversation because I was now dealing with 3 vans parked in the road taking photos. But I did start drinking my water.

I went and got the laptop because I had to pull some data from the traffic counter. The computer guys came on Friday and changed everything. I forgot to log in before unplugging the computer so when I got to the traffic counter, I couldn't do anything because it wouldn't let me log into the computer. So I went back to the cache, hooked the laptop back up, and logged in. I was doing the PP dance by this time. I took the main entrance road instead of the frontage road to miss the bumps. Mistake.

As I was sitting in Lane 1, Hypocrite (and that is not a slam against her) was jumping up and down trying to get my attention. She said the visitor in her lane had a motor vehicle accident late last night in the park and needed to file a report. I told her to tell them to meet me in the VC parking lot. I pulled in on our road. I almost thought of telling the individual that I was going to run over to my house to use the facilities, but thought I would make it through the report. PP dance getting more evident.

I finish the information taking and start driving to my house. Big Bear is walking up to the Library when I hear some sort of yelling at the Entrance Station. I thought they were calling his name, but when he walked up to the vehicle he said the sheep were crossing the road. So much for peeing. I turned around and started that way. Arch Hunter was out stopping outbound traffic. I went through the inbound lane. Critter Chaser was chasing the baby off the road. I pulled up along side the road and turned on the lights to get people to slow down. I looked over to the highway where about 6 vehicles were stopped filming and taking photos of the sheep.

The herd, 3 females and 2 youth, were split. Mom and baby were in the wash on the right side and 2 females and a youth were on the frontage road on the left side of the road. I ushered mom and baby further into the wash and then started to deal with the other three. I hit the siren and watched one of them look at me with this look of "you folks have tried the siren thing and it doesn't phase us anymore, retard". I got out of the vehicle. I was within 10 feet of the three. The one sided conversation went like this: Go. Right now go.

And the three started walking up into the hill. I was as surprised as you are. I walked over to the right side of the road where mom and youth were pondering the weeds. And that conversation went like this:

Hey, get up here.

They started up the rocks to our road. And then I told them to GO as well and they trotted into the road. I walked to within about 5 feet of Mom and said GO again and she went onto the frontage road. I got back into the vehicle as they were now walking down the frontage road. I chased them up the road toward Opie's house. And then let them be.

I bet I pissed off the vehicles parked on the highway, but after having one of the females hit last month, I don't care if the visitors don't get to see them for an hour. You know the motto: Protect the resources for future generations.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Squaw Flat Fire Posted by Hello

Squaw Flat Fire

I was enjoying a peaceful afternoon at BF's house watching the Olympics (the real sports) and doing some other girlfriend work. The phone was ringing non-stop and I don't ever answer it unless the answer machine screams my name. The answer machine finally called my name at about 1200pm. The voice on the other end was Boss Lady. There would only be one reason may be two reasons why she was calling. One-someone was sick and could I cover or two-a fire call out. It would be the latter.

I really didn't want to go, but when she said the words that BF was going, I thought it might be fun. Boy, was I mistaken. Anyway, we gathered gear, food, and headed down the road in the Big Dodge. We stopped at the rock art panel to use the restroom and I noticed steam coming from under the hood. This can't be good. The temp gauge read normal so we drove on. Drove on for about a mile when the Check Gauges and temp shot into the red. We pulled over, threw up the hood, and saw the anti-freeze everywhere. We did have someone stop and ask if we needed help, but we said we were fine and had a radio to call if we needed to. We decided to move on, but it kept jumping into the red so finally we pulled over and gave up. We called the Green Hornet and asked for a pickup. Gear was loaded into another employee's vehicle who passed us and then we were picked up by Green Hornet. The Dodge would be towed back to town. In the last month, our protection staff has had nothing but vehicle trouble.

We arrived at the station and were debriefed about the fire. Like any good government employee we wanted to get out to the fire and size it up. Mainly the reason was because if we got out there and touched foot in the fire then we would be getting hazard pay. I was already sitting on OT because it was my day off. 11.5 hours of OT isn't bad. We hiked out to the fire. I was told it was 1/2 mile hike. And then we hiked the 3 miles out there. I can't complain about the hike too much as it was a beautiful hike.

Except when the rain started coming down. Remember when I said I was a little weird about water issues. Well lets just say I couldn't be a high ranking official in the military with secret stuff because all the captors would have to do is water torture me. I can't stand rain dropping on me. However, I just dealt with it. Nothing else I could do.

We arrived above the fire and in order to get down into the canyon was going to take some maneuvering. I was with 3 rock climbing boys. I was going to be in trouble is what I said. But it wasn't really that hard of a drop. We played in the fire for a while. Not disturbing too much because there were some ground rules. The archeologist haven't been in the canyon and the soil of course is fragile. We made sure there was no possibility of the fire to head down the canyon and destroy more. And then Opie found another way out and we hiked through the dark to the top of the canyon. We stopped and ate the most wonderful MRE. Yes, that is a joke. And then hiked around in the darkness with headlamps for a while before finding our blue flagging telling us how to get down. We finally made it to the vehicle and to the station for a unpeaceful sleep on the floor. My feet were killing me.

Thursday marked a new day. We received a wake up call at 615ish AM, however; we were already awake. Green Hornet was making breakfast for us, well kind of. Now usually on a big fire, you would eat in a mess tent. On a small fire, you would have another MRE. But when you are on a fire near someone's home sometimes things work out. We arrived and Green Hornet had blueberry muffins, pancakes, eggs, and sausage. BF and Opie had to make it though. I got out easy by pouring the juice. It was a great meal. And by 7ish, we would be hiking out to the fire again. My feet immediately starting hurting and I had awoke nauseous so that was only getting worse.

Not a lot had happened overnight. Some areas in the black were still burning, but were of no concern unless the wind picked up. We were checking for hot spots and dealing with them. The rain the night before had given us a good water source for the bladder and so we worked the water over the hot spots. We moved things around to make sure they couldn't catch other green on fire. And we monitored. The nauseousness was getting worse. I was drinking a little water but of course not enough. My feet were killing me. We took a break and I went in and out of sleep while they ate. We finally agreed it was time to pack it up for the day and start the hike back. We still had to get back to town even though our vehicle was already there. Green Hornet agreed to drive us, after all he would be getting OT as well.

So we started hiking back. I was in major pain by this point and kept falling further and further behind. BF was being a kind soul and waiting patiently as I caught up. He had stopped to wait at this junction for me and when I arrived it kind of went like this:

BF: Here drink some water.
Me: No, I am fine. Lets go.
BF: Drink some water it will make you feel better.
Me: No, I don't want any.
BF: Drink some fucking water and quit arguing with me.

Oh yea, I drank the water and did it make me feel better? Nope I became more nauseous and started slowing down more and more. We didn't really talk the rest of the way back and he put some distance in between us. I was of course carrying something that would hurt if smacked against something.

Leader and Opie were already at the vehicle waiting patiently. BF had dropped down off the slickrock and hit the trail. I dropped down the slickrock and started on the dirt. Hell broke loose. The wasp was flying by my head. Of course I think it was more like 5 wasps. I kind of just swung my hand and kept walking. They kept swarming. Then I was bit on my upper back. FUCK. I dropped the tool and put my hand back there. But they kept coming so I grabbed the tool and started moving again. And then I was stung bad on the lower back. I think the words were something of the nature FUCKING SON OF A BITCH. I dropped the tool and saw the sucker on my leg. I hit it with my hand.

BF had turned around at this time realizing I was in shear pain. By the time he saw me, I was stripping off my pack, radio harness, and shirt. And I will not deny that I was crying at this time. That stung was racing up my back and putting me in spasms. I dropped down to my knees. Or did I? Every thing was moving so painfully and my mind was blurry. I grabbed my stuff and started toward the vehicle. I kept having to stop because of the pain shooting through my back. I had unsnapped my pants and loosened the belt because the constriction was making it worse. I climbed in the back of the truck and laid down. BF told Leader and Opie what had happened. Leader asked if I was breathing ok. Always a question when someone is stung. I said yes and we drove to the station for first aid. I was laying in the bottom of the truck bed and it was the weirdest feeling trying to figure out where we were on the road. We arrived and Green Hornet was already there waiting to drive us back.

Remember that conversation with BF about the water? It would be another stab at me when Green Hornet took my blood pressure and then asked if I had been drinking enough fluids. My normal pressure is about 90/70 and I know that it was not there. I also know that my pulse doesn't race at 90 either, but that is where it was. Green Hornet (and probably BF more revengely) was thinking of giving me an IV. But luckily it wasn't necessary. We drove back to town, 65 miles away. I was in pain all night with the poison racing up my back.

Of course, I blame the whole thing on Leader, Opie, and BF because they passed that area first and disturbed the wasps. Today, the bites itch like crazy and I can just imagine that the duty gear belt is going to make it feel so damn good.

I don't suppose I have a moral to the story. I guess that I should drink more water, but we all know that I don't do that. Have a good one.

Monday, August 16, 2004

A picture is worth a 1000 words?

I escaped the confines of Utah and traveled north. I went into Idaho for about a week and then returned via Montana and Wyoming. Add another state to my list that I have set a foot in... 7 more to go. The drive was unbearable, but I would rather drive to see the sights then fly a couple of hours and miss so much.
The drive up to Idaho through Salt Lake City and beyond wasn't that great. Just lots of rolling hills and boringness. I was already into my book pretty much. BF just wanted to drive about 4 hours, but I pushed on and said lets get as far as we can tonight. We arrived in Destination #1 on Saturday evening, ate dinner, and fell asleep quickly. We got up and hit Destination #2 around mid-afternoon on Sunday. Camping for a week without a shower, I have come to realize I am more of a hotel kind of girl these days. I skinny-dipped in the lake several days and savored the shower the first day of the drive, another three day-er, back.
A picture is worth a thousand words - 1921 ad copy by Fred R Barnard
Of course I took a few pictures. And of course I will post them somewhere. I hate posting with HELLO because it doesn't give justice to the photo. And that is where I am going with this passage. You often here the quote above. And there are definitely thousands of words to describe a picture, however; if you did not take the photograph yourself, it will lack one thing...EMOTION or the feeling I experienced while taking the photo.
Some examples---you can't know the feeling of coming down that hill on your bike in the forest right next to the lake and remember you unhooked your brakes at the top because they were rubbing. That fear that shot through my heart hoping that almost sitting on my back tire and feathering the front brakes would stop me before the curve ate me up. Whew that worked.
Of feeling the breeze upon the sunblocked covered skin during the boat ride to find the first of several geo-caches. ( The feeling ripping through my arms as I paddled the kayak across the lake and up the narrows to the Upper Lake on another day.
You can't know the exhilarating feeling in every inch of my bones, blood, and soul as I heard the water rushing by at Granite Falls or at the Slippery Rocks area. Or how about that feeling of "holy shit" as I was coming down the slippery slide for the first time. Or how about the water in the creek (or crick) that took your breath away even by placing your toe in it. But the feeling of it was so great especially after not having a shower for a while. We climbed up into this water fall and posed long enough to get the photo taken. Then I jumped off the fall hoping it was deep and quickly swam to shore.
How about the feeling of awe, amazement, and puzzle when BF took me to the Shoe Tree. Here is this tree in the middle of almost nowhere and there are a ton of shoes upon it. Why? Probably the first person to place a pair of shoes there could answer that question. Or possibly the second person who thought they didn't need their shoes. I found it absolutely weird. I guess in a sense it is like graffiti that turns into art.
The sight of the Bison in Montana was spectacular. Now that is one huge animal that I would not like to meet face to face on a dark stormy night. Hell, I would rather not ever meet one face to face for that matter. We entered Yellowstone and after driving through the area for a while, I came to realize why S-Dog always hated the desert and wanted to return to the trees. But how the hell he puts up with the winters I am not sure. I found it amazing that I did not hear that many foreign languages like we get down here in this area. I was disappointed I did not see a bear, but I did see quite a few huge bull elks and one female. The sulfur smell at the thermal pools was nose hair wrenching and the first breath was always the hardest. The sight of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was as breath taking as the Grand Canyon of Arizona. And I would have to say almost as beautiful if not more. and And then there was Old Faithful herself? Surprisingly we made it to the area with about 3 minutes before the next blow. Of course that is just a guess-stimate of when it is going to blow, but she blew within 10 of us being there. It was quite amazing. She bubbled for a while and then WHAM. And it is definitely a sight to see once.
We left Yellowstone and headed through the Grand Tetons. The silhouette of the Tetons in the night were just amazing. And I would understand why the freak mountaineers felt the need to conquer them.
So the moral of the story is that although my photos might make you say ah and oh, you won't ever know the real picture unless you get out there and visit the world for yourself. Journey hard, safe, and always with your eyes searching be in the moment.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Ice Cream and Pickles

Last night (Wednesday) was the normal night out for Wings and Beer. This is what I call the Fee Winger night because most of the fee collectors show up for 10 cent wings before 6pm. Then a few of us other stragglers show up and talk shop as always. I arrived at about 530pm and Mr. and Mrs. Smith were already there. Guess Mrs. Smith might be casted in some movie that is going to be filmed in the area, but not real sure. Haras was our waitress and she always seems to be the waitress when I show up. I ordered veggie chili, a lemonade, and beer battered rings. BF would be showing up later so I had to make sure to get his wing order in and I almost didn't.

Goosebumps and her two new bought friends showed up sometime before 6pm. They ordered wings and Haras said she had to get the order in or it wouldn't make it. That is when I remembered to order BF's. The park service is a small network of people and someone always knows someone, has worked where you have worked, or whatever. Goosebumps and the one of the new bought friends had met at some park back in the cold country of Michigan I think. (NOTE: Goosebumps did buy me a beer)

Flapper showed up after 6pm and missed the wings (As well as Big Bear, but he never orders wings anyway). I think she just really showed up to collect her purse that she had left at Banditos at lunch. (You might notice I eat there quite a bit). I should have let her sweat it out, but I was nice and called and said you left your purse, thanks for lunch. And so the shop talk turned into other talk as usual with Flapper and I. BF was occasionally involved or at least half listening. I would get this look every once in a while.

Some people were ordering some other things and I had decided I wanted some ice cream. So I looked at Haras and then asked if she would come over to me because I didn't want to yell my order across the table. So she comes closer...

ME: Can I have the mint chocolate chip ice cream with malt syrup and a pickle.
Haras: (Well you can only image the look on her face). Um, ok. One scoop or two, one pickle or two?
Me: (Flapper pretty much had the same look) Well now you understand why I didn't want to yell it across the table.

Earlier in the meal eating I had seen Big Bear eating a pickle and had decided to get one. Haras brings the pickle and ice cream. And well, I am sure you can pretty much figure out the reaction of the table. The words PREGNANT were thrown around quite a bit. BF's face about fell to the ground. And I tried to assure everyone that I wasn't. I can't wait to see what the word at work is today.

Me to Haras: You got me in trouble.
Haras: I got you in trouble? You are the one who ordered it.

So the moral is when with friends, don't ever order ice cream and pickles because you will get razzed big time.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Aunt, Mom, and Baby Posted by Hello

The Nightly Wildlife

Last night was just a typical night it seemed at the beginning. BF and I left the entrance and headed into the area. He had to give a program and I would be running a trail and then meeting him at the program. I packed a cooler with a Corona and jumped into the vehicle. We were early to the time the program was so we pulled off at SV Overlook to go check an area suspected to have some rock art. He had never been in the area even though he has worked here for at least five years if not more. So we explored a little. Yes, we found the rock art because I knew exactly where it was. And he found a snake when he tried to go a different way that I had climbed. He decided he would go the way that I did after all. (Wildlife sighting #1) While I was waiting for my background to clear, I had scoured this area to no ends because really I had nothing else to do. Anyway, we finished and headed up the road.

It was 835pm when he dropped me off at the trailhead. The initial plan was to run the entire trail, but with the clouds overhead and the sun already gone, I would be running against time. Darkness would engulf my world quickly if I didn't take the shorter trail into the campground. He slowly drove away because he is a worry-wart and didn't think I should be running at this time of night and whether I was going to make it by dark. I hit the trail and the rain started coming down. It seemed to get dark almost immediately, but my night vision kicked in and I made it in ample time.

Last week or so we had a visitor say he saw a mountain lion in the area watching two deer. I figured he or she (we are going with she) had come up through a canyon in the DG area. Because I know the area that she lives because she stalked me one time. But anyway, that didn't help my fears while I was running on the trail. I just kept thinking--according to that stupid book I read, this is the time she likes to hunt, this is the type of area she would hunt, and I am running so slow that she probably thinks I am a weak prey. Obviously she didn't come after me that I know of.

The rain had picked up. I stopped at the Campground Host and said I had an emergency. He said WHAT? I said I need a bottle opener. I had forgot to bring one for that cold beer waiting in the vehicle for me. He gave me an opener and a cool cup and I headed up the road running. Here is this vehicle coming down the road and keeps moving over to the right shoulder where I am moving out of the way. Finally, the vehicle stops and I catch the g-plate. BF decided it was raining too hard and cancelled the program.

And that is when the wildlife abundance took place. Most of our animals come out at night because it is too fricking hot otherwise. Only lizards, snakes, and chipmunks brave the heat. Every thing else seems to enjoy the early mornings or dusk. So we are driving around the horn and coming upon the DG Trailhead. There is a water fountain there with a faucet. And I am not lying when I say there was a deer drinking from the faucet. (Wildlife sighting #2) Where is that camera when you need it. She had a broken leg. We have known for some time of the leg, but what do you do? You let the 'survival of the fittest' take place or do you put it out of misery? Remember the mountain lion? Survival of the fittest.

So we came around the horn and there was a bigger snake than before slowly making its way across the road in the rain. (Wildlife sighting #3) We stopped and looked for a while and then started to drive around it. It turned and started across the other side. We finally got around it and kept driving. And then the toad started hopping across our path. (Wildlife sighting #4) We stopped and Nature BF got out to check it out. It was raining too hard for me and I can't stand water dripping on me. (So I am a little weird).

We left the 15 MPH zone and hit the 30 MPH zone. Approaching the 45 MPH zone on a blind curve, the coyote was standing in the middle of the road. (Wildlife sighting #5) Thinking it was going to continue to cross the road, we slowed down and waited. But nope, he would continue to run down the road for a while in our lane. He finally went off on the other side and eventually disappeared from our view. Somewhere further down the road, a rabbit would attempt to join the Rabbit Club by running in front of the vehicle. (Wildlife sighting #6) Yes, the rabbit made it and joined the other daredevils. So even though the program was a washout, the drive home was a bonus.

But do you ever notice that animals only cross the road when vehicles are coming?

PS: I added some photos to More Photos...Further Adventures.

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Slide Posted by Hello

The Arch Posted by Hello

To Jump or Not

Bf and I left my residence at about 530pm with a mission to accomplish by dark. Or not. We always have our headlamps with us and I even carry a flashlight. Sometimes that 2 hour hike turns into a 5-er so you must be prepared. I told my boss where we were going and that we had plenty of rope with us. She just shuddered. Our mission yesterday was to get on the Great Wall without having to walk to either end of the 3-5 mile wall. No, this isn't the Great Wall of China. We parked on the side of the road at Mile 6 and I pointed to where I thought we could get up. I of course was right.

There is a fire raging in Colorado and it is making things a little overcast. We walked through a wash and let our eyes wander every direction so we wouldn't miss anything. We finally arrived at where we were going to attempt to get up. There was a smell of rain in the air and we would be climbing up a drainage. I scouted the sides to see where the heck I would be running if the water started flowing over the area. BF said he had a raincoat and then looked at me realizing I didn't have one and said "obviously for you". The drainage we were climbing up was more like a wind tunnel. The wind was bad enough, but it was picking up the sand and pelting our skins and every other orifice of our bodies. I think I still have sand in my eyes. We reached the top without any problems.

Upon reaching the top, we immediately saw an arch. My camera had been in repair mode for about a month now and I have finally gotten it back. My sister had suggested putting it in a plastic bag in order to keep the sand out of it. So I decided to try it. So I take the camera out of the plastic bag and the bag flies away towards the edge and disappears. If something goes off the edge, let it go. Your life isn't worth that plastic bag. You would be surprised how many people chase something towards the edge.

We searched the area for various things...another way down, rock art, Indian ruins, Eagle nest, and anything else interesting. My BF is crazier than I just to let you know. We walked all over that area and he looked for places to get down. He would often say 'we can get down here'. I would answer with 'I've moved on and not going there'.

We were standing at a ledge and looking over the edge. I had the feeling I always have when I stand at a ledge of that height. "WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO JUMP". Oh, please don't think I am suicidal. Spend enough time with psychos in the wilderness and you will get the same answer. To me it is a fear really. And I can't explain it. I asked BF if he had the same thoughts and he said YES. I have read it in Outside Magazine as well. And I wish I could explain it in better way. And it isn't something that can be cured by skydiving--well at least I don't think it can be.

We saw it off in the distance. Both of us felt the urge to go to it. And really it wasn't anything that spectacular. The rock outcropping looked out of place. Looked like it held something special. There had to be something neat to be found over there. Was there? There was this little arch thingy and some rock that look out of place. But nothing more about it. When we got over there and walked around the structure, we saw the rainbow in the distance. Here we were 100s of feet above the road and not a vehicle could be heard. There was silence of the best kind. Just our breathing between us. Silence.

We peered over the edge and decided it was doable to get down this way. And so we started down. We should have kept over to the right, but we didn't. We are standing on this rock cropping and he decides to slide down. (Photos above). And I just look at him like you have to be 'fing crazy'. But of course I followed him down.

We had accomplished our mission, but now we had another mission at hand. It was 830pm and we needed to get to the vehicle which was about 1 1/2 miles away and down to town for Banditos dinner, which closed at 10pm. I had a plan...

I always carry my work radio with me. I turned it on and called 225. When he answered...

Me: Location
225: BR and heading out of area
Me: If you see two lonely strangers on the road near CH Wash, could you pick them up.
225: Copy

BF said 225 was going to make it before we did. We picked up the pace. And then about 200 yards up the wash, BF decided we should start running. I felt like we were in the military attempting to get to our pickup point. As we rounded the corner and could see the road, I saw 225 driving by. He does this too me all the time. He saw us. I clicked the radio and said 225. He kept driving and I know smiling the entire way. Then I yelled his name on the radio. I told BF he was going to be turning around and thank goodness he did.

We climbed into the vehicle and he laughed at us. He dropped us at our vehicle and we made it in no time to the restaurant for great Mexican food.

But in a sense the mission was a little drab since we didn't have to pull out the ropes.