before it all went down.
We had gotten a late start. Sleeping in was to blame--not by accident though--the hotel bed was just so comfortable, the curtains so dark--the room begged "just a little more time".....and we thought that was a good idea. We took our time, enjoyed a late breakfast, and set off for the trail.
The clouds were dark, and threatened rain. Not too dark......but dark enough for a sprinkle. The air was warm, thick with moisture, and we were sweating before we even hit the trail head.
Our destination: Twin Peaks. Two rocky peaks standing shoulder to shoulder, only two feet difference in height.
Our packs had water, snacks, The Big Camera, jackets, ponchos and headlamps...just in case. We would hike the steep trail up, stand atop both of the peaks, and then run the trail down to the car.
This was the plan anyway.
About a mile up the trail (soo..oo.oooo steep) we met some hikers going down. They had made it to the snow line and stopped there. They said the best part was seeing a mother moose and her two furry babes somewhere around a small mountain lake.
Mental note: mama moose, two babes. Don't mess with that.
We continued on. Up up up we went, the aspens closing in. The bushes getting thicker and thicker on the trail--reaching out and grabbing our arms and legs as we hiked onward and upward.
Up up up.
A break in the trees. The meadow. A sprinkle of rain.
We took a few photos, and talked to another hiker.
"Watch out for the moose" he told us.
We crossed a stream with a makeshift bridge made of fallen trees, and headed into some thick bushes, thoughts of a mama moose on my brain.
We couldn't get enough of the view--it was unbelievable. We live right by this mountain--I look at it every day. But you don't really KNOW a mountain until you are IN the mountain itself.
It is quite the feeling.
We followed the faint trail through the bushes and it started to climb.
We walked along, chatting, while rain slowly drip drip dropped from above.
And then there, right there...... mama moose.
She was close--from me to you. Oh wait, that doesn't work with you reading this.......
She was closer than I wanted to be, let's put it that way.
Oblivious to us, munching happily away on her lunch.
But I froze.
Never in my life have I been afraid of an animal--ever. But everything inside of me told me I didn't want to be close to this pretty lady and her babies. We could either continue on the trail, or turn around. The problem with continuing on, is the trail wrapped around and actually got closer to her. The problem with turning around, well......we had planned on climbing a peak today.....who wants to turn around?
So we went with option C. We headed off trail so we could go up and around. Away from the moose, but still up the mountain where we could meet back up with the trail. Win win.
We started through the thick bushes--I glanced behind me and she lifted her head. Our eyes met. Her's said "what are you guys doing out here today-stop interrupting my lunch". Mine said "if you take one step towards me I will wet my pants." She stayed put, watching, but still. My pants stayed dry, my heart pounded throughout my body. I was glad we'd made the decision to go in an opposite direction.
We needed to cross a tiny stream with an uphill bank on the other side. A little jump.
No big deal.....or was it.
(cue suspenseful music)
He went first. The bushes were so thick it was hard to see where to jump. He jumped.
As soon as he landed I knew what happened.
note: His foot is not normal. He's had a few different surgeries years ago to add screws and put bones back in place. (long story short, he dislocated part of his arch while he was serving a mission in a third world country, and walked around on it for a year while it was dislocated......yeah.
That will mess you up.)
So every now and then his middle toe dislocates. It's not fun. Miserable, sickening pain.
I saw the look on his face. I heard the words in his brain. Not good.
"You are going to have to pop it back in".
Yeah he was talking to me.
"ok" deep breathe. "ok".
Off came his shoe. Sock.
That's not what a toe should look like.
I had to just go for it. Quickly. I knew he was only going to let me touch it once--he looked like he was going to throw up.
My own toes curled at the thought.
I grabbed, pulled, pushed.
It didn't work. I mean, it's not every day I have to put a toe back in place.....call me crazy.
But now what?
I went through our options.
Do I run down for help? But then what? No one is going to come up and get him. We were lucky in the fact that we were only 2.5 miles in, but unlucky in the fact that it was craaaaazzzzy steep. Helicopter? ha! he would never go for that one.
Maybe some big strong men would magically appear to carry him down.......or not.
"We are going to have to walk down". He read my thoughts.
Now in any suspenseful story, this would be the part where the clouds opened up and it really started to pour.
And guess what my friends, that's exactly what happened. The rains came tumbling down.
Think think think.
Even if I wanted to go back by The Moose (I didn't), we couldn't. I knew he couldn't jump that water again. There was only so much I could ask him to do on one leg.....and besides, I could see his toe trying to push out through the top of his shoe.
So we had to make our way down the slick rock we were now standing on.
And it was becoming even more slippery with each bucket of rain that came down.
I looked down at where we had to go. If we could get down the rock, through a gnarly looking thicket of bushes, we could get to the little lake and make our way around the opposite side we had come. There was no trail but I was pretty sure I could get us back to the bridge we had crossed.
So down the rock we went. Through the bushes. Wet branches smacking me in the face as I tried to find the best way through. To the lake's edge--mud that reached up and tugged at my knee caps.
Not really at ALL what we had planned.
After what seemed like days, we made it back to the original trail.
Hooray! Only....... not hooray. We still had two miles to go down the mountain. It was a slow process....I think I turned 30 somewhere in there. We found him a stick--a makeshift crutch. We talked about just cutting his toe off so he didn't to deal with it any more. I mean really, why do we need ten toes? Down down down the mountain. The rain let up.....finally.
a little more.
As soon as he didn't have to walk anymore he was absolutely fine. We even wondered if we should get something to eat BEFORE we went to get it put back in to place. We decided maybe that wasn't the most responsible thing to do. We (grudgingly) drove straight to urgent care, where I had the Doc show me EXACTLY what do to do in case it happened again.
Oh please don't let it happen again.
Have you ever had any misadventures?
I'd love to hear them!
They are always funny.......after all is over and done.
note: please feel free to laugh as much as you want. "dislocated toe" sounds pretty funny.....right? Dislocating a hip, or really ANY OTHER JOINT, sounds a whole lot more serious than a tiny toe. I'm just glad it wasn't my tiny toe sticking out of my shoe.
believe me though, we laugh, all the time.
The mental picture of you trying to put his toe back in place...perfect!
One time my family and I decided to go camping at a camp ground we thought would be REALLY nice. We're tent campers, we like the outdoors, smell of dirt, campfires, dew in the morning, you know. This camp ground we went to obviously didn't believe in that stuff. Their tent "pads" were CEMENT! We couldn't get our tent stakes in the ground, it was pouring rain as we were trying to set up, we cooked dinner in the rain, ate a watered down steak from the grill. And there were no trees. I live in Florida, so it's pretty much hot all the time, picture cooking dinner in the blistering sun over a hot camp fire. It was a BLAST!
Actually, laughing was the only thing we could do by the end of the trip to keep our sanity.
OH my gosh! The intensity of this story had me on the edge of my seat. Your writing is so completely engaging!! I'm glad all is well now but I can't imagine the feeling as it was happening. AH!
wow, what an adventure - in all senses of the word! i guess you know that one side of the mountain quite well now, at least! :)
glad you also know what to do if this happens again...!
Oh my gosh, you guys are a couple of badasses! :)
Me, 11 years old, my whole family, my best friend brought along and Lake Powell. So excited to be out on that gorgeous lake and anticipating the fun that would inevitably make for the best week of my little life. We are out on the houseboat, looking for our perfect spot. Me, trying to be helpful, I see that a waverunner that is being towed behind the houseboat are starting to drift off to the side, so I grab the tow rope and start to pull it in closer. My right hand was holding on tight to the side of the houseboat to brace myself. And then a big wake pushes the waverunner right into my right hand, completely crushing my ring finger and pinky finger. When it hit, I brought up my hand and saw that my fingers were in fact flat. Yes, flat as a pancake. And thats when I screamed bloody murder. Long story short, Lake Powell trip was ruined. My mom took me to Arizona to the ER, they sent up back up to Provo and I got 4 pins put into my little fingers. 2 surgeries, 6 months of physical therapy and many months of not having to do any school work because my right hand was in a sling.
This story is a bit of a family legend.
im dying. this kind of stuff always happens to kelly and i. happy anniversary to you two! ha. no really, i'm so glad you are safe and you made it down the mountain.
now lets talk about moose. we go to island park almost every summer with kelly's family. last summer i went for a really early morning run around the island. as i was running i thought, oh great, this is the time i would see a moose or a bear. then the next bend i came around there were two moose. a mom and calf (?). i froze. i almost peed my pants. they were crossing the road in front of me. my heart was pounding! the minute they were off the road and eating some trees i took off and ran as fast as i could back to the cabin. scariest run of my life!
crazy story! But I guess it happens to the best of us! Out of curiosity, what are the mosquito's like there? I imagine they must have been horrendous with the moisture/ rain!
I just recently had a misadventure in the Eastern Sierra's that included a 6 month old having an ultimate crying fit 3 miles into one of our hikes.... It was not pretty. I don't think the crying ever stopped until we got back to the car! Ha!
@melissa: mosquitos.....I didn't notice any! Although they very rarely bite me (it's weird-I must taste bad) but I didn't notice any flying around.
That was a pretty crazy day for you guys! Wow. I'm glad you all ended up okay though :)
Too bad you couldn't get a picture of the moose, but probably seeing a moose and being scared, you wouldn't be thinking of 'This is a great moment for a picture'.
see what i mean? HARDCORE.
That's why I hate camping because it seems that the slightest accident is a death sentence and that gives me a level of stress and worry that I don't need.
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