Monday, June 10, 2019

Be careful what you wish for

I took Alex hiking in the mountains on Sunday. 
We were looking for adventure.
Alex found some before we even got out of the truck.

Four mule deer hardly constitute a grand adventure,
but it was an auspicious start, and how about that blue sky?

Mindful of recent lost-hiker stories in the news,
I texted Ethel (also known by her real name, Denise) of our plans
so she could organize a search party if necessary.
How one does that from several thousand miles away remains to be seen,
but I felt better knowing that someone would know where we were
in case we got eaten by a bear or something and didn't return on time.

This was my first smartphone-equipped hike, and I was practically giddy
when I realized I had a signal on the mountain. 
I could call or text my way out of trouble if need be.

The plan was to hike the 3.5 miles to the top, then come back down the same way.
I kept Alex on a leash because I always keep her on a leash.
Good thing, too, because we'd occasionally hear a branch snap,
followed by the sounds of a mule deer running through the trees,
followed by the sounds of me admonishing Alex to stop trying to chase the mule deer.

Texting on a hike might be the modern-day equivalent of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.

Alex: Put the damned phone away and let's go home.

The best part about hiking up a mountain? Hiking back down. 

We had about a mile of trail left when we heard a branch snap somewhere off to our right.
I glanced in that direction as Alex got ready to pull my arm out the socket to chase a deer.

Except it wasn't a deer. It was a bear,
a very large bear climbing a tree about 50 yards away, looking right back at us.
And I had no fucking idea what to do.
Walk? Run? Hide? Google for the answer?
I opted for walking quickly and getting the hell out of there
before he could climb down the tree and eat us.
 But I did grab my phone as we scurried by and pointed it in his general vicinity to take a picture
because once a blogger, always a blogger.

Once I was semi-convinced he wasn't chasing us, I stopped and sent Denise another text.

In case we met our demise, she'd have more clues to give the search party.

Hard to say who was more relieved when the hike was over,
but we went looking for adventure and found it, so there's that.