Seems like I ought to stop HAVING hiking misadventures. I mean, how many times does a hike have to go wrong to teach me to stop putting myself into those situations?
There was the hike that we did with our old nanny to the waterfall in Sorrento Valley and after 2 hours of hiking back to our car we realized we had made a wrong turn. Hot, out of water, and kids that were out of steam to keep going, I jogged ahead to try to find our car along the road so I could drive back and rescue everyone else. But after a 4 hour hike, my legs didn’t work as they should, and I tripped (on nothing), went sprawling onto the sidewalk, busted my sunglasses and gave myself 2 bloody knees a bloody palm and a black eye. AND, I didn’t find the car. So the nanny took over, ran the opposite direction, and found it. Who’s the hero, who’s the loser with a black eye? Lame. Worst hike ever.
Until the Christmas day family hike, that landed us almost in jail when we illegally entered the park and rec lot that was closed. Luckily got off with a stern warning and some threats, and then kept on driving to get to the next hiking location. Hey! Great news! It’s just up a ways from where we started….no love lost there! Until we get to the bottom of the hike, and find ourselves, with our young children, on San Diego’s only nude beach. Whoops! Lots of questions about naked bodies, then….. Hey! Look at the time! We need to head back up the hiking trail and get out of here! Sorry to leave so soon!! Worst hike ever.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago. Summer is here, we need to find something to do, so let’s grab a friend and GO ON A HIKE!! Come on, Kim! What are you, dense? Stupid? A glutton for agony? Well, pick your favorite, and yes, yes I am.
So I load up the girls and their friend and we head to Torrey Pines. Packed. Can’t find a parking spot, there’s a line out of the parking lot, not promising at all. Should have picked up on the subliminal message: turn around, go home, no hike for you today! So we keep going….
I NOW know of another hike, but at the time of that hiking misadventure, I did not know of anything else, other than, the naked hike. So yes, I did it. I actually CHOSE to take 3 little girls to a naked beach. Go ahead….call CPS. I know, I know. My girls recognized it as we got closer to the bottom of the hike. I tried to avoid their questions. Felt like they were about to call CPS themselves!
As soon as we got to the bottom I saw clear sailing right along the shoreline, so I hightailed the girls right up to the waters edge and we speed walked along the water. At one point we looked away from the water (danger! danger!) and saw a guy coming down off the cliffs holding a surf board and hanging onto a rope to help him down the steep climb. We asked where that rope goes, and what’s up there. He said it’s a hike up to the neighborhood, a way for locals to climb down without walking all the way down to the beach the usual way.
The rope was VERY enticing to curious little girls, so of course, we headed up! Hiking misadventure take 3!
Looks fun no? That’s what I thought!
I followed up the rear, there was laughing, shouting, all around good humor. (totally misleading)
Two very patient, nice guys waited behind us with their black lab. At one point I turned and sort of apologized for how slowly we were climbing up. They were very accommodating. And in retrospect, thank goodness I established a “relationship” with them by turning around. They very possibly saved Payton’s life. 🙂
I think the fact that I was taking pictures and can’t really even SEE the girls should have given me concern. But we kept going, higher and higher. That’s the other thing about hiking…much easier going up, but you do have to come down eventually.
So finally we reach a point that I am legitimately worried. This has been quite a hike, and it’s getting more technical, and we have no ropes, no carabiners, no helmets, no one below us to yell “On belay?” So I think it’s time to turn back. Not much resistance from the kids, thank goodness.
So we turn it around. The first few steps, no problem. Then we arrive at that tiny little skinny ledge we just walked up. But going down, it’s treacherous. Tennis shoes aren’t gripping the dirt, and the dirt wall the rises up above us is flat and sheer, nothing to hang on to. Our feet can’t even fit properly on the ledge, we have to keep our feet sort of angled to be able to stay up. Payton starts to freak out. I assure her she can get down. By the way, there are people ALL around us moving up and down the hills. But there is a deep ravine right below us. Some some people actually walked into the ravine from up above us and are heading down that way. Other people are on the opposite side of the ravine, and seemingly doing ok. We just happened to pick the skinniest, slipperiest path available. I’m telling Payton to grab onto the weeds that are growing out of the dirt and use those for support as she scoots her feet along. She’s paralyzed. I tell her to sit on her bottom (on her white shorts) and scoot down, don’t worry about ripping your shorts wide open, just get down! She refuses. Harper and her friend are now impatiently waiting for us to move out of the way. We figure out a way for them to climb over us, which nearly knocks me into the ravine, but they do it. Now they are on the opposite side of Payton, and we are all coaxing her to move. She can’t. She’s terrified.
Those 2 nice guys from the beginning of the hike? They are on the opposite side of the ravine. They’ve been watching this play out. They yell down at a few UCSD students in the ravine, tell them to pay attention, they may need to catch someone. The UCSD guys look absolutely not interested in doing that. I kind of laugh, but am starting to sweat this out. Not sure how we’re going to pull this off. Still sweet talking Payton out of her predicament, but it’s looking hopeless. Then, out of nowhere, one of our saviours is right behind me, and effortlessly moves to the other side of Payton. He’s like a freaking mountain goat! And he’s about to prove it.
He asks if he can help us. YES! Please, yes, don’t ask, just help us! So he tells Payton to hold on to him. She, being the Payton we all know and love, does NOT want to touch someone she doesn’t know, let alone “hold onto him”. I have to use my stern voice and tell her if she ever wants to get down this mountain she will need to do what he says. Period. I think she’s about to pee her pants, she’s going to do what we say. Finally!
She kind of reaches out, it’s a weak effort. He bends down, SCOOPS HER UP and is suddenly holding her in his arms!!! I scream at her to hold onto his neck!! She’s looking like a stiff board, terrified to hang onto him, and it’s looking awkward and dangerous how she’s allowing herself to be held but not holding on herself. She listens to me, thankfully, and wraps her arms around his neck. No legs around his waist though, that’s asking too much, so her legs kind of dangle like she’s paralyzed (which I guess, she still kind of is). This guy not only carries her from the ledge, but he carries her PAST Harper and her friend, and ALL THE WAY DOWN to where the rope is! It was waaaaaay further than necessary, but I guess he figured if he’s rescuing a damsel in distress, he’s going to make sure she’s safe. Sure enough, he powers back up to me where I’m barely getting down without falling into the ravine myself and reports back that he’s placed her in a safe wide open area where she is in no danger of falling, but he figured she wants to hang onto the rope to get down again. I don’t know how to thank him enough. I tell him over and over again how I wish I could repay him. He acts like it’s no big deal. He was truly our angel. I only wish I had the wherewithal to pull out my phone and snap some pictures. I know Payton would have HATED those pictures, but man, what I wouldn’t give to have that moment documented forever. Hilarity surrounding the worst hike ever. Have I said that before?
Back on solid ground.