Sunday, October 7, 2012

a saturday with melanie

Melanie headed off for college this year. She is far enough away to give her some independence, but close enough that we can still see her occasionally. The problem is that she has an OLD car that doesn't drive distances well, so running home regularly on weekends is not really an option.  She got a ride home with a friend over Labor day weekend, but there aren't many 3 day weekends in the fall semester. So I decided I needed to go visit her. I asked her if she has any Saturdays free. She told me "Saturdays are always free! Come this weekend!  But just so you know, I have a broom hockey game Friday night, a baptism on Saturday , the RS broadcast at 5, a tailgating party before the football game, then the game and a dance." (Wow Mel, your weekends really are free and relaxing . . . !)  Anyway, I drove over Friday afternoon and found this greeting on her sidewalk.

We headed over to the broom hockey game at the Institute.  She certainly has made a lot a friends in a very short time.  My camera doesn't take action shots well, so I ended up with a whole camera full of blurry pictures.

We did a little shopping at the only store in town. Wal-mart is not just the only store in town, it is also open 24 hours a day so we were able to do a little late night shopping. I had a deja-vu moment. I remember my dad visiting me at college and commenting on a hole in my tennis shoes. I assured him they were fine. He assured me that shoes with holes in them were absolutely not fine. (He was a clothing retailer all his life). I had the same conversation with Melanie and she ended up with a couple pairs of shoes before the evening was over. Then she came to stay with me at the hotel down the street from her apartment.
I talked her into going on a hike with me on Saturday morning. I have a book that has reviews of hiking trails in different regions around the state, so I came prepared with a hike we could enjoy together.
Trailhead - about 15 miles sw of town
Distance 4.8 miles out and back
Approximate hiking time - 3 hours
Trail difficulty rating - Easy
No Fees or permits required

Doesn't that sound perfect? Fifteen miles from town, and a 3 hour "easy" hike.

Farther down in the trail description, it reads:
Finding the trailhead - Drive 7 miles out of town, turn right and drive 28 miles to turnoff. (what??)

In reality, we arrived at the trailhead after a one hour and 20 minute drive. I suppose it is actually 15 miles from town if you are a crow and can fly there directly, but it might have been good to mention in the description that it is a steep windy road up a mountain that you have to drive at about 20 miles an hour most of the way. We drove to the top of the mountain and down the other side a ways. On our drive we saw signage for many other trails. If we were smart, we would have just stopped and enjoyed any of the other options.
The trailhead was in a fee area. $10 per car.  The campground and picnic area was deserted that day, so we decided to risk not paying as we were not actually going to be using the picnic area. The description said no fee, so we hadn't planned on any $. (oops)
Also, the description of "easy". It wasn't a particularly difficult trail, but it was not well traveled or well maintained.  There were a lot of trees down that we were climbing over and under on the trail. And it was all downhill one way (which means it was all uphill the other way).

(No tree carving done by us, but Melanie wondered who the ? might be)
When we had been hiking 2 hours (we should have been at the waterfall at the 1 1/2 hour mark), we could possibly hear a waterfall?  but the trail took a sudden steeply downhill switchback direction down into a ravine. We were running out of time, and we had been walking downhill for the whole hike already, so this additional steep trail didn't look appealing to either one of us. We bailed on the waterfall siting and headed back. The trailhead is pretty much at the very top of the mountain and it had all been downhill to this point. I knew that the hike back to the car was going to be kind of slow going for me.  I don't mind uphill so much, but uphill for two hours is not my favorite kind of hiking. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath while Melanie was skipping and whistling the whole way back.  She wasn't winded for sure, and I don't even know if her heart rate was up. Ah, to be 18 again. In the end, I will blame my slow hiking to the high altitude. I'm going to ignore the fact that I have 30 + years and a few pounds on her.

There was a creek that ran beside the trail most of the way. The sound of running water 
makes for pleasant hiking.

We did get a beautiful view of the valley below. This was taken from my inexpensive camera phone, but it really was a pretty view. We could see the town below and another mountain range in the distance.  It was very pretty.

 It wasn't quite what I expected, but a beautiful hike nonetheless. We got back to town in enough time to rest up, clean up and get to the Relief Society Broadcast. After it was over, I headed back to Phoenix and Mel headed off to an evening of Football games and dancing. That girl never slows down.

1 comment:

Suzanne Barker said...

Ah the young College life! It sounds like Mel is doing wonderful I am glad you had such a fun time with her!