In between the tooth fairy not coming to visit Natalie (but she left a note in the underwear drawer that she'd be back the next night because we have the TOOTH FAIRY OF THE YEAR in this house) and Nat waxing poetic about her dreams of growing up ("When I'm 18, I want to
Last month, we went out to Hanging Rock State Park, which meant we had to get up at 5 a.m. to meet with one of our trainers (who has not one sarcastic bone in his body) who looked directly into a bolt of lightning flashing across the sky and said, "Looks like it's going to be beautiful weather for your hike today." Perhaps it was the severity of the early morning wake-up call, but for some reason we all acted like this could possibly be true. Then we drove lots of hours in the rain so we could go do the hardest thing I've ever had to physically do in my life, in the rain. And when I say "in the rain," I do not mean it like with tap shoes and street lamps and catchy show tunes...I mean it like we couldn't see the trail because it turned into a canal. Which didn't actually bother me as much as the fact that we were hiking on trails listed as "strenuous" which roughly translates into "let's hike straight up with minimal switchbacks on sharp, slippery, leaf-covered rocks until we get nosebleeds and/or die of cardiac arrest." This hike made me cuss a lot. We should have known something was up when the bathroom at the trail head was a five-minute hike, straight up, to a restroom without lights and soap, which was possibly bought for a steal at some Alfred Hitchcock auction. I don't want to particularly relive this one, so I won't go into further detail, other than I survived, brought a change of dry clothes, but forgot about dry under garments. Though, commando is better than soggy drawers, so we'll leave it at that.
After that hike, Matt and I went to the beach with some friends to train. And when I say "train," I mean I rode a bike a man's bike a couple of times until my butt was really mad that I was too lazy to adjust the seat of a woman's bike. This chair was there on the road, just begging me to sit down, but I felt like the cardboard sign was going to get in the way.
Last weekend, we had our last group training hike: 20 miles at Uwharrie National Forest. The website touts the trail as "easy to moderate" while my body says otherwise. We kept coming upon signs that read more difficult, "more difficult" obviously meaning one mile of flat land, nineteen miles of next-to-no switchback peaks and valleys. It was more than more difficult. In fact, next time I'm there, I am going to add "more than" to the signs just so people are aware, because that's what Hiker of the Year does: she educates and informs; she warns and advises; she uses thesauruses and synonyms.
Even though this trail was hard, it felt a zillion and a half times easier than that place they call Hanging Rock. And by a "zillion and a half," I mean 2.5. I liked it, but mostly because I was hiking with my friends. Had it just been me, I would have run out of interesting things to talk about by mile 8. I'm an interesting person, but not THAT interesting.
I did things in that forest that I never thought I'd do in a forest. There were rubber gloves and Ziploc bags and hand sanitizer involved. I'll leave it at that.
Okay, I just re-read that and it totally looks like I was pooping in the woods. I wasn't pooping in the woods. I was doing that thing that women of child-bearing age do when they aren't bearing children. And I was doing it with my friend. And we did it right before a hiker who is making a documentary came upon us and documented something that should never be documented. Ever. Not even in a trailer park on The Learning Channel.
While we were a couple of hours away hiking, Matt took the kids camping with Natalie's Brownie troop. I planned on meeting them after I was done (after all, if you're THAT tired, you really don't care where you sleep), but the campsite was an hour away from our house and Matt told me the gates would be locked by the time I got there. Instead, I showered and then went to my neighbor's costume party.