“It’s only a little bit further to the falls,” we were told.
“You’re almost there,” the next hiker promised.
It is amazing how your perspective for distance traveled and difficulty of passage improves when you are headed down the trail, with the key word being “down,” as in downhill.
We, on the other hand, were headed up.
I was up in Reno this past weekend to retrieve the family pooch after the wife-person and my two-week road tour of Ireland. Number 2 Daughter was kind enough to house our canine kid, to be kept company by hers.
The wife-person opted to remain home to nurse a bad cold that is often a de rigueur result of multiple days of bus travel, followed by a long airline flight across the pond from Europe. (I see sick people.)
Off-topic for a moment: given the crammed seating on our United Airlines flight, I have decided that the much maligned torture technique of waterboarding is a walk in the park compared to being stuck in the middle seat on a plane loaded with the current crop of full-figured Americans.
Holy shit, where did all these fat people come from?!? We’re talking about hipponormous being the norm nowadays.
I’m not talking about simply overweight. Hell, I am overweight as indicated by a closet of pants that no longer fit well, and by fit well, I mean I can only get them closed if I lay flat on the ground while sucking out every iota of air in my body.
No, we’re talking about 250-pound plus blobs wearing stretch pants and Velcro-closing leisure shoes.
Back to my Reno rendezvous with the dog.
After a fortnight of gluttony, I figured a short hike in the hills might begin to put a dent into the “few” extra inches of waistline I brought back with me.
For our intended short hike with the mutts, Number 2 Daughter and I drove up to the Washoe County, Michael D. Thompson Trailhead for the Hunter Creek Trail in the Mount Rose Wilderness in the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest.
Yes, all these exact names are actually posted on the signs for this hiking path. No wonder the government has trouble doing things the easy way. Hell, a few more names and the description would be longer than the trail.
Speaking of the length of our walk, we started out with very little water, no food, no map, no idea of an intended destination, and, oh, did I mention, very little water? Once we got going we learned about this supposed spectacular waterfall, “just up the trail,” with “just” meaning, just you wait how far and steep and rocky and dry it is to get there.
I did mention our general lack of drinking water, didn’t I?
We eventually found out that the hike was about six miles. Given that I just returned from a trip to Ireland, I was still thinking in metric, so I figured it was about 10 kilometers. Wishing to convert it back to miles, I simply used the conversion of 1.6 dollars to Euros, which I think meant we went 16 miles.
Add to that, was the fact that this trail started in the mountains above Reno, which is already a high-desert locale, and it went up and up from there. I knew this was a significant gain from what I was used to being at sea level in Ireland, although I am not really sure of the elevation of sea level over there, since they drive on the wrong side of the road.
If I knew how far six miles is when measured on the slope, I probably would have forgone this four-hour march. But given male ego and trying to prove what my running friends used to say about me (“What he lacks in brains, he makes up in stamina.”), I forged on.
Besides, I could not show weakness around Number 2 Daughter, even though she is at a level of superb athletic conditioning, and half my age.
I don’t know if it was just that Christmas and her birthday are coming up, but I heard her say more than once to folks we encountered along the trail,
“My 61-year old dad is kicking my ass.”
How could I not continue on with encouragement like that? So we did and, thankfully, it was worth it.
The waterfall is, indeed, magnificent, but the problem is once you cool off in the refreshing pool, you have to hike all the way back to the pickup truck, over miles of a dry, rocky trail, which is exposed to the full sun.
And, I should mention…we really did not have enough drinking water.
I am told this sometimes causes one to repeat themselves.