Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Went Hiking!

I went hiking yesterday. For those who know me this will come as quite a shock. Shellby is not an outdoorsy kind of gal. I am fine with roughing it as long as there is room service. But this was a special occasion. I had the opportunity to go herping with Dr. Joshua M. Parker. He wrote the book Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mojave Desert. I jumped at the chance to go with him on an outdoor excursion. Unfortunately I forgot to pay attention to the detail that it required AN OUTDOOR EXCURSION. We were going to Valley of Fire state park to look for critters. Had to go early in the morning. OK I'm good with early. 5:30 AM I am at the meeting place, the home of another herp enthusiast. At this early hour, let's call her Stephani which may or may not be her real name, comes bounding down the stairs all full of vim and vigor. I had a twinge of what did I get myself into, but I brushed it off. I may be older but I am fully capable of wandering around in the desert to look for animals. Josh described where we were going, hike a bit to this valley where he has had success in the past. Again I failed to pay attention to the word "valley". This implies that we may have to climb a hill to get to the valley part. After a 40 minute drive we arrive at our destination. Josh points to the area we will be going. Um that is Mt. Everest and I forgot my oxygen. Apparently "hill" is a relative term. To me hill is a little mound of dirt. That was not a hill. I had come this far no way I was going to turn back. We headed off. I started off at a similar pace to my much younger companions. Soon I was sure my lungs were going to explode and my legs were no longer a part of my body. The air must have been quite thin as I could not catch my breath. Shut up that is my story and my lack of exercise has nothing to do with it! I had to admit I needed to take a break. So I did. Josh said take your time we have all morning. I almost said OK see you in an hour. Eventually I made it to the top! Yay me. I was so proud. Then I looked at where we were going. It was all "hills"! We are going to go down here and then up over there, wrap around over there, go over that and then down into a gorge. NOOOO! I did not sign on for mountain climbing. It was cool and there was a nice wind blowing. I began to get the hang of finding the best way up or down for me, taking time to rest now and then. We made it to the gorge area, which was gorgeous by the way. Steph needed to take a break. Thank God! Even the young need to rest. It was here that I realized I really, really, really had to pee. In the middle of nowhere. I walked around hoping the feeling would lessen. Nope. Finally I told the members of our excursion that I was headed to a big rock to pee behind. I PEED BEHIND A ROCK.
And I did not get it all over myself. My daddy would be so proud. Josh pointed to a natural arch waaay up this "hill". Picture opportunity. Deep breath, OK let's go. I made it. I now have pictures to prove I hiked. More walking, climbing, sliding, falling. Yes I fell. 3 times. We saw a few lizards, no snakes darn it and some amazing plant life. Flowering plants growing right out of rocks. The desert is gorgeous. Time to head back home. Which means climbing Mt. Everest again to get back to the car. Of course what goes up must come down. Down was almost as hard as up! Slippery rock areas. Boom down on my butt. I momentarily contemplated sliding down on my derriere the rest of the way, but these are my favorite jeans. So I got back up and continued down. Then it was over. Steph was impressed with my ability. Apparently she has never seen the elderly climb giant mountains. Overall it was a nice morning. Would I do it again? Maybe. Can they put in some escalators?

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