Wednesday, February 25, 2009

you're killing me, suzanne

So I've been hiking quite a bit this winter. When I go out by myself, I go an hour or two, occasionally 3 hours. Every time Suzanne has a free day and thinks up a hike for us, we end up on a super long, over achiever boy scout, pack a suitcase, we are hiking into the next county, don't forget to bring some food 'cause we are going to be gone all day, kind of hike.

Last month we went all the way across the Phoenix Mountain Preserves, 11 miles. Earlier this month we walked from North Mountain to downtown, 9 miles. Yesterday we explored a trail on South Mountain and hiked 9 1/2 miles. (We only planned on 7. The extra 2 1/2 miles just about did me in!) I've got to say though, yesterday's trail was beautiful. I can see North Mountain and South mountain from my front yard, and from miles away, they look pretty much the same, but I was surprised how different the scenery and rock formations were.

Eight and a half miles were a regular foot path but we went off on a loop called the Hidden Valley. It began with a natural tunnel. We found ourselves shimmying over slanted rocks, we scooted and slid over slippery rocks. We squirmed under a rock formation on our back side. Then the loop ends with what is called "Fat Man Pass". Well, although I am most definitely fat, I am certainly NOT a man. So from that definition, we felt justified to push forward until we actually SAW Fat Man Pass. When I saw it I started laughing and realized I had to find some way up and over the pass or shimmy and slide back through the valley and back out the side where we began. It was a massive solid rock that seemingly had broken in two leaving a very narrow (VERY narrow) slit to pass through. My skinny friend Suzanne thought maybe we could fit through the pass. (I think maybe she was confident of squeezing through, and having a chuckle while I became permanently wedged between two slabs of stone). She got through and assured me the first 2 feet were the most narrow then it widened a bit. However, the narrowest part was level with the not-so-narrowest part of my body. With very real fears of becoming truly wedged, I gave it a try. Positioned sideways, bent like the letter 'S', hips forward, shoulders back I eventually emerged out the far side of Fat Man Pass. I am glad we were alone. This was a fun valley, but it would not have been a pleasant sight to any hikers traveling behind us.

5 comments:

Katie said...

Sheesh...you can't tell a story like that and not include pictures.

I am amazed (and jealous) of all the hiking you're doing. First of all...there is nowhere to hike around here. Second... I don't think I could walk 11 miles, let alone hike it. You've almost hit a half marathon.

Cathy said...

You two are becoming quite the "Extreme Hikers"! I sure it is very enjoyable while also being quite taxing! And Cindy, YOU are not Fat! I think I am the only one left in the world to claim that! Wish I could do the program Suzanne did...

Lauri said...

OK, you've passed me up. I went on a 2 hour hike last week and was spent for the entire afternoon. I don't think we can hike together anymore.

Suzanne Barker said...

I was laughing my head off when I read that post Cindy. I never thought about it that way. I guess because you go so often, I try to make up time because I only go about once a week. And I think I have a little bit of "magical thinking" in regards to how long something is going to take us. I notice you didn't tell anybody about my almost blacking out at the half way point and you thinking we were going to have to hitch hike down! It really was beautiful and I WAS confident you could get through.I don't think you would have appreciated me taking your picture when you were trying to get through that crack. It was also pretty hilarious when we had to scoot on our butts sometimes. It really is a pretty area..if anybody wants to go there, you would love it. And there is a shorter way to hidden valley than what we did.

Lindsey said...

Next time take a video camera! I am impressed by all this extreme hiking. I wish I had that kind of stamina!