I did not shower at all over the weekend, and I survived. Okie, now since that is out of the way, let me tell you about my fabulous camping and hiking trip that I took over the long weekend. The smell of burning wood in my hair has finally been replaced by lavender from my shampoo, but the moments are still fresh.
Abhi and Nish were planning a camp trip to Zion National Park, Utah since a month or two. Initially I was not going to go since they were going to hike up the super-badass Angel’s landing and I was so sure it wasn’t my cup of tea. The other flimsy reasons included that I had already seen Zion 3 years ago and a couple of other things. But when I was in San Diego a couple of weeks back, I heard that there may be a chance that they will move to another city and that tugged at my heartstrings, and I was in!
We were a group of 6 people, Abhi and Nish, DD and Maddie(DD is Abhi and Nish’s friend since years and Maddie is his GF), and Abhi’s friend from work, who wants to be known as Ted on the blog, because he thinks his life story’s like Ted from How I met your mother with all the heartbreaks and that jazz. I told him if I imagine his heart, it’s like a taped up balloon. Sheesh. 😀
We were supposed to start at 3 pm on Thursday from San Diego and they were supposed to pick me, DD and Maddie up at 4 pm from my home in OC. A late car delivery where our reservation was not honored( a la Seinfeld), gruesome city traffic and stupid things like that insured us being late by 3 hours pretty much. We were still too excited to get bothered by that, so it was all forgotten until the prospect of reaching our booked hotel at 5 am to wake up at 9 am again loomed on us. We had decided to stay the night at Cedar City to avoid experimenting with tents in the dark which was an awesome bit of decision making by Abhi and Nish. So after about 4 hours of sleep for the ‘night’ and our last shower for the weekend, we left for our campground in Dixie National Forest. That day was very eventful with trying to figure out the way a tent works, the right side of a rain-flap, the purpose of vestibule and all that fun stuff to get a roof over our heads.
We went around the town for a bit after that. We got back at around 6 pm all excited to make our first meal on fire. Boy, did that fire take forever to start! We had some friendly tent neighbors who saw the 6 of us cluelessly huddle over some smoking coals and they gave some lighter fuel because our firestarter bricks were clearly big duds. This help was met with a mixture of amusement and gratefulness. Some male egos were bruised as well because apparently starting a fire is the most basic talent of cave-men. 😀 We tucked into a hearty meal of burgers, Paneer Tikka and some wine. Of course the alcohol was courtesy me. The food was mind-blowing. If you have Nish with you, rest assured, you will never die hungry and unsatisfied! After wrapping up everything else, we turned in for the night, only to get up again at 4 am to get to Zion National Park as early as we could.
The morning arrived and I felt like I had swallowed a bucket of butterflies. I was freaking out and I was so scared about my hike. I was pretty sure I was going to die, or fall and break a limb or something. I had utter lack of confidence, but DD had done the same hike before and he kept assuring me that I will be able to do it. We reached Zion and took the shuttle to the point where the hike begins. I am so grateful to the weather gods that there was a cloud cover. So even with 90 deg F, we weren’t dying of heat. There was a good breeze and it kept our energy up. The hike is actually just 5 miles or so, roundtrip, but since it is a straight up elevation, it becomes tedious. We were taking tiny pauses every few minutes to catch our breath. Now Abhi is a health nut who is into hiking as well, and I think Ted is too, so they were pretty okay. Nisha and I were dying and DD and Maddie were left a li’l behind since they were taking it easy climbing up. But even then, I think I did pretty well compared to the dud I was 3 years back about outdoorsy activities. For sure, it was easier because Ted offered to help carry my backpack full of water bottles. Shawn(my buddy at work) had told me not to sit down because then it makes it hard for me to continue. He is totally taking credit for training me in these last 2 years and building up my stamina. He wants me to buy him lunch now. Ya, right!. So, we went up and stopped at Scout’s lookout which is the final point for someone who doesn’t want to do the killer last half mile. We sat for a few minutes, took some pictures, watered us up and started on the final hike again. I don’t want to write too much about it and will let the pictures do the talking (I will add more eventually). Ted helped me a ton by making sure I don’t fall off or trip. I got totally laughed at while going down because I was sitting down and slithering down the rocks like a snake, as my friends claimed. But hey, between my dignity and my life, I would choose the latter. 😀
I feel totally badass that I did it and I am extremely proud of myself. I had seen plenty of videos on Youtube that had scared the living daylights out of me and I had decided to play it by the ear about doing it or not. But at that moment, I just wanted to do it. Remember my last post? The whole ‘seize the moment’ thing I am daring myself to do? I think the hike was a part of that crazy, mental plan.
We were EXHAUSTED after the hike. We had bhel (sort of an indian street food) for lunch and went to check out the Virgin River and some parts of the Narrows hike. The water was cold and sooooo good. I wanted to go deep into it but we had to leave too. So with a very heavy heart, a bid adieu to Zion. Okay, *drama queen*.
Now I did say we were exhausted and aching all over, and to add to our woes, it started raining. I think it’s a trend with me. California is drought stricken. Last year when I went to Portland, the city welcomed me with a good soak. In this trip also, I had to get caught in the rain at the campground. We had a fab time trying to light our little fire with all the moisture around but we managed, in about a couple of hours and literally gallons of our newly bought lighter fuel. After it was dark, DD went fuel happy on the fire and he(okay, us) found it very entertaining to see the fire roaring up like that. Has anyone done that weird thing where you spray deodorant on your leg, over your jeans actually and light it for a few seconds? Yep, I am that idiot who used to do it.
But I loved that night. It was our last night over there. It was cold, it was rainy, yet, something felt really nice and cozy about the whole environment. It was my first time camping, and I am a convert.
We even stopped at Bryce Canyons where the xBF, Abhi and a couple of our other friends had gone 3 years back. In fact, Abhi’s contact pic on my phone is from our Bryce trip and so is my wordpress display pic. It made me a little nostalgic, getting reminded of the old days, but I did snap out of it easier than earlier. Those were some fun times.
The drive back was of course horrendous because the entire world is on the road trying to get back to home after a long weekend. But, MY SENSE OF HUMOR, and a bit of madness by others made it all worth it. My back is frozen, my calves are stiff and my b*tt hurts like a b*tch. But I am all smiley and happy inside. Fady, a buddy at work, even commented that I have a smile plastered on my face.
Each time I go to Canyons, I fall in love with them. I think I left a li’l piece of my heart behind in Utah, and I will be back to get it. 🙂