Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dragging Friends on Adventures:the scary road edition

I try to include disclaimers, I really do. I told my friends: This is a narrow, steep, road, with exposure. As we inched along toward the trailhead on the dirt one-lane road, shrieks filling the cab and threats to walk, I felt worried. These same friends were exposed to a freezing, steep hike they weren't expecting a few months back even though I clearly said, it's only two miles, but pretty much uphill the whole way. When we had arrived at our destination, the looks on their faces showed that it had not been described as promised. Foolishly, they had agreed to come with me again. I was sure they were regretting it. This is why I like to go alone sometimes, but I like these friends and it was going to be spring in the canyon. We've been shut out of spring this year (as I write this, it is snowing) so this was a window I couldn't ignore.

One of my friends declared that landing a military plane on an aircraft carrier was easier than the drive. That was hard to believe, but since I've never landed on an aircraft carrier, I had to take his word for it. Backing up for two oncoming trucks in the most narrow place around was probably the last straw. I sighed. Once again, an adventure miscalculation.

not my picture. You think I was taking pictures? Source
I have a very shallow adventure buddy pool, and in a way it's like speed dating (though thankfully I never had to do this in real life). Someone wants to go with you and it's mostly cross your fingers and hope for the best. Along the way, I learn their issues through trial and error (lightning phobia, horse phobia, dislike of bugs, dislike of dogs) and they learn mine (sunrise chatterbox, exercise obsession). We work it out.

After a harrowing two hours we finally arrived at the trailhead. Fortunately, the hike was worth it, because it always is. My friends agreed with this assessment: 4.5 miles one way,  mostly flat! There's something about a confluence that calms everyone, though one friend was heard to say this was a once in a lifetime trip.

The Snake River at last!
I don't know if these friends will accompany me again, but I'll keep trying. I'll just cross them off the list of narrow, exposed roads, like I've crossed others off long slogs (and they have undoubtedly crossed me off steep skiing excursions). Different friends for different adventures!



13 comments:

  1. Please cross me off that list also. I'd rather walk. I have major anxiety in a vehicle with that kind of exposure. Backing up is my nightmare, something I hope against on narrow roads.

    I witnessed a gorgeous red sunrise over the west side of the Tetons yesterday morning. Blue skies, YES! But my mid day, the black clouds arrived and snow soon followed. Temperatures in low 30's. Daffodils and crocus bloom while seeming not to care about their new white surroundings. It's snowing again this morning. Spring is shy this year. Soon it'll be summer and we'll want for the cooler temperatures . . . but for now, I'm ready! It's gonna be a super short backpacking season.

    The dread of going back up that road would be just as bad as some trails . . .

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    1. Yes, it's funny but that doesn't bother me at all. Other things do. I agree about the backpacking season and I am scrambling for Plan B. However with limited time off it is typically so much easier just to head two miles up the road to this wilderness. I'm thinking it is going to be like 2011. Frozen lakes in July. We did get a nice long fall that year though.

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  2. It's the road I would love to take, but my husband wouldn't let me. It was definitely worth the nail biting.
    I hope summer arrives soon. We are off to Europe soon with hiking in Switzerland and the Dolomites. They are also still getting snow! I can already hear my husband say, 'we can't do that'.

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  3. Yikes...glad the hike was worth it. I am a world's worst backer-up....you don't want me at the wheel then, though I'm pretty good going forward on steep mountain roads. Spring here is vacillating between snow and warm, also.

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    1. We asked a guy to back up the truck for us!

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  4. As far as scary roads go, I'd much rather be the driver than the passenger... And yes, I often feel the same way about finding compatible adventure friends. Not everyone likes to get up at the crack of dawn to go hiking or wait while I take photos, so I often find it's better to go by myself.

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    1. Agree, and I am so scheduled during the week that I like to be spontaneous on weekends. Not everyone likes a phone call at 7 saying, can you be ready in a half hour?

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  5. You and I would certainly make good backpacking partners (although I do sunsets, not sunrises). I am more fearful of the drive than the hike - LOL. Wish we lived closer! I can only count on one hand how many people are willing to go backpacking with me/us, so this post resonates!

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    1. Yes, it's strange! I can find day hiking friends but backpacking is difficult. Fewer and fewer want to do it.

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  6. Is your friend the pilot doing the carrier landings? If so, ask him how he likes being a passenger with someone else flying! Maybe he'd have been happier doing the driving....

    The section of road in the pictures looks really nice.

    Tom
    Fairbanks

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    1. He did drive! He wouldn't have liked being a passenger at all.

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