Saturday, February 26, 2011

Propmpt Me! Wednesday - My Cup of Tea - Insanity?

Jillsy Girl hosts Prompt Me! Wednesday. Come by and check it out, better yet, play along.

This week's prompt is My cup of tea. My cup of tea involves adventuring out into nature to see what I can find and hopefully getting a few decent photographs while I'm at it. I've never been able to decide whether this makes me brave or crazy. Thus a conversation that I had with a friend was born that helped me to decide just which side I was on. Or so I thought.

I was telling one of my friends about an adventure I planned to go on involving cross-country skiing on the Hyalite Reservoir. She asked if anyone was coming with me. I said no, I'm going out alone. She came to the conclusion that I was brave. I wasn't so sure. Later that day when I put my pole into a puddle of water and it went splash instead of finding ice, I turned around and headed for the safety of the shore. I decided that this was the difference between brave and crazy. I'm willing to go out and experience adventure, but when I come to something that exclaims, "Danger, Will Robinson!", I turn around. If I hear a mountain lion give off a warning growl, I turn around. I don't go looking for it. Therefore, I decided I was brave and not crazy.

Until today. I'm pretty sure I slipped over the edge and can officially declare myself crazy. Oh, it started harmless enough. My son suggested that we go up to Palisade Falls for the family hike. No argument from us. It's quite a beautiful spot. Well, when we got there the road was closed. OK. The gate was swallowed in snow. Yikes! My husband suggested that we head up to the top of Hyalite Canyon and see if we couldn't hike to Grotto. Sounded good to the rest of us.

Well, in winter the lower trail is covered in snow so we went up the middle one. I became suspicious as to our where abouts when we came across some falls so quickly. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to hike to Grotto Falls in the summer. My brave husband and I weren't sure because this spot also had a rock face perpendicular to the trail as does Grotto Falls. My son kept trying to tell us we were at another spot very similar which also has falls. (I'm not complaining. I tried to find those other falls last summer to no avail.) We proceeded to climb up the hill determined to prove our brilliant offspring wrong. Did I mention we were hiking on top of a snowpack. That had me a bit concerned. The brave was kicking in. Time to turn around, for me. My spouse, on the other hand, is crazy. Pretty much everyone knows that, so it's not really a newsflash. Problem is, where he goes, I follow quite foolishly. So I blew off that little voice that said turn back. Once we reconnected with the trail at the top of the mound of snow, we did indeed discover that we were nowhere near Grotto Falls. We were above them somehow. At least, we think so. OK, good to know. We'll just carefully turn around. I will say the next part was my favorite. We manged to slide down the bowl on our boots and not set off a landslide. That was a blast!

That's when I realized I, too, am crazy. On the way down, I found out how deep the snowpack was, not that I needed my suspicion confirmed. I stepped into snow up to my hip. Just one leg, fortunately. The other one was folded next to me on top of the snow. Well, good, nothing broken or injured. My husband was kind enough to lend a hand and pull me out. During this little side adventure, I noticed I had lost one of my yak tracks. I was holding the other one in my hand because my eagle-eyed son spotted it on the trail earlier. I meant to take off the one left stuck to my shoe, but couldn't get a good spot to stand and lift my foot. Great! Bless my dear sweet husband, he went back to get it. I love him, but I really would've been happy to just get going. We were starting to lose the sun. Sign number 2, we're not sane.

That's when we heard it. If I could even accurately describe the sound, I would be Stephen King. To say it sent chills up my spine, doesn't cover it. Sounded half human, half cat. No warning growl this time! My son hugs me and says, "Goodbye, in case we get eaten by the animal." I said, "We're not getting eaten by the animal." He replies, "How do you know?" In my best grown up calm, not scared for my life voice I say, "Because we are going to remain calm."

Meanwhile, the love of my life starts hustling back down the mountain and falls in up to his waist. I keep thinking this is how it all starts. The trip that seemed innocent enough, but somehow ends in unthikable tragedy. I'm expecting this huge cat to pounce on him any moment. I really couldn't tell what it was. I just knew it was out there. This creature sounded like an angry human falling off a cliff. Then I start worrying that maybe someone did. Should I call 911? I look at my phone getting ready only to see: No Service Available. Are you joking?! It begins to run through my mind that this will make a great movie or maybe a Dateline segment. (Is that show still on?) My only hope is that I am correct in believing that the sound I heard sounded like it came from a distance. Maybe. Sound is funny in the forest.

I believe I am holding my breath at this moment. Willing myself to remain calm. At least I was bright enough not to tell my adorable child that we have no cell phone service. I'm praying that the panic does not show on my face. While it should have been a life time waiting for my spouse to return, it went quickly enough. Once reunited, my hero presented my errant yak trak to me, and we headed on down. I must say if I hadn't been jumpy from the whole thing, the evening would nearly have been perfect. The air was crisp, yet surprisingly warm. The sky was a perfect cobalt blue. The snow glittered lighting our way back. When we hit the parking lot, it was late dusk, but still light enough to see. It doesn't get any better than that. OK, not getting eaten by a bobcat definitely completes the evening.

PS - I tried listening to some animal sounds on the net when I got home. The closest thing to our bone chilling serenade was a bobcat yowl. Shiver.

View Upon Arriving at the Parking Area

Road Closed at Palisade Falls

Bit of Snow Covered Moss Near Hyalite Creek

Snow Mounds on Hyalite Creek

Pine Needles Poke through the Snow

Unidentified Falls

Unidentified Falls

Snowy Crags

Me Stuck in Snow Pack
Notice My Right Leg Disappears Completely

What's Your Cup of Tea? Adventurer or Homebody? Why not drop by Jillsy Girl and add your thoughts?!


Writer Lady said...

Yep, you're a little crazy for attempting that. When the snow warms up it gets soft and what you walked over earlier becomes snow that you fall into.

I know because I took a friend for a walk across the snow when I was maybe 13. Crust on the way out and falling in on the way back.

We were so tired and my friend wanted to stop and rest. I wouldn't let her because I was afraid I wouldn't get her up and walking again.

I was so afraid. My parents were more so, even after they found us safe.

VM Sehy Photography said...

Glad you and your friend made it out of that snow.

If I'd been out there on my own, I don't think I'd have walked over that snowpack. It was a bit scary. And the fall near the rock face would've been a lot deeper than my hip I'm afraid. I'm also grateful we didn't set off any snowslides.

My son and my husband had wider boots on so they were able to stay on top better since their weight was a bit more distributed. I'm fortunate I didn't poke through near the top.

Probably not going to try that again. I may still try finding those falls in the summer though.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Yeah, you're crazy!! Love the photos, though, and what a story and memory!! Glad you didn't end up a story on Dateline!

Jessica said...

Wow! What a story -- so glad you made it back okay -- but what awesome pictures you got!! Those falls are so incredible with the water frozen in place like that.

Me, I'm much more of a homebody -- I have an adventurer son who would have gone with you in a heartbeat, though! : )

Jillsy Girl said...

OMG! MY heart was pounding as I was reading...just call me Wuss! Very glad to hear it all turned out well.

Jillsy Girl said...

BTW...those shots are great ~ especially the falls.

VM Sehy Photography said...

Barbara - I'm glad I didn't end up on Dateline too. I was telling my husband I need to learn to snowshoe, so I can distribute my weight a little better. Especially if we end up out on snowpack again. I definitely would not have done that on my own. Not sure that really makes it any better, though.

Jessica - Thank you for the kind comment. The photos are defintely worth the effort. I may need to take a look at my risk vs reward thought process though. That's the craziest thing I've done in awhile and it maybe awhile before I work up the nerve to get that adventurous again.

Jillsy Girl - Hope I didn't send your heart racing too badly. I was hoping that I had managed to convey the shear excitement and during the yowl, the terror. That was definitely the scariest thing I've ever heard in the forest.

Thank you everyone for your comments. Sometime I should find some of my older photos and tell tales about the adventures that went with those. It does usually involve me sticking a leg in something. Go figure. I guess if this need to go adventuring continues I should take that wilderness first aid course I've always wanted to and find someone to teach me how to hike in the back country. Gotta gain some muscle first though.

Sally said...

You are as brilliant a story teller as you are a photographer! And crazy is generally greatly under-rated ~ heavens, look what you'd have missed if not for Fearless Husband to encourage you to shoo off the warning voices.

I, too, am grateful that this journey ended well ~ and will have a safe, homebody, cup of tea in your honour!

mrs mediocrity said...

Wow, what an adventure. Glad it turned out to be something you can, or will laugh about...

Gorgeous photos!

Have you ever heard a fox scream? I am wondering if that could be what you heard, it is a very freaky sound indeed.