Oct 19, 2009

Questioning my sanity and realizing my mortality.

I am so sore today, I have found all the muscles in my body, especially in my butt. This morning while crawling into my van I actually checked to see if I was sitting on something.... nope, it was just my swollen glutes. My hands felt bruised when holding the steering wheel. I felt beat up. How did I sustain these injuries? Well, for one, it was a direct result of not listening. It was a secondary response to me not realizing when I was out of my league.

Let's start at the beginning. Yesterday I was bored. It was 2pm and I was up the night before until 4am so I was feeling tired and stir crazy and I decided a nice fall walk in the unseasonably warm weather would be just what I need. I posed an invitation to my local friends on Facebook to suggest a great place to visit with the baby on my back, the three kids on foot, and our two large dogs. It was suggested that I take the kids & dogs to Helen Hunt Falls. I stopped by the grocery store on the way and got energy bars and we had water bottles, a backpack and were ready to go. My GPS could not find Helen Hunt falls, so I set it to Seven Falls, a pay-to-visit area nearby the free Helen Hunt Falls. I now know this was my first mistake.

It was a beautiful drive once I got to the Broadmoor area of town. The temperature was near perfect, the air was clean and crisp. The trees were a lush array of yellows and reds and there was a small dusting of leaves below them. The red rocks towered above us, as the road narrowed to a small guard-post where we paid our $20 entrance fee. This is what lead to the second mistake.

We head a couple miles up a very narrow road to the parking area and chaotically unload kids and pets and jackets and packs. I put the baby in a pack on my back and take the Great Dane. Christopher gets the backpack as the Golden Retriever is too much for him to handle. The dogs excitedly yank us up the hill to the falls pulling us to each new person, smell, chipmunk, or dog.

The view from the top of our second trip up the mountain, this time via the elevator across from the falls.  LOL

The visitor center had a small walk-through next to a stream on the left of it. The water was crystal clear and small fish swam around. If you have ever been to Disney and been on splash mountain, you will remember how happy the ride was until moments before you took the death defying plunge to the bottom. I felt much this way as the stairs emerged before us. Remember where I said paying $20 was my second mistake? That is because I figured if we paid for it, we might as well enjoy it, right? So the sign at the bottom of the falls warn you that the climb is 224 steps. Two HUNDRED and twenty four.

Bottom of the falls.

It was probably around step 50 and the dogs freaked out with the height that I realized what a huge mistake I had made. I was cursing the friend who recommended this death trap and feeling overwhelmed by a 95 pound dog who's attitude about the steps is to just run up as fast as she could to get it over with, dragging me and the baby along with her.

That is one wild stair climb.

At the first platform we took a small break to drink a little water and mentally prep for the second climb. There was another woman with a tiny toy poodle and a baby. My dogs were trying to mess with the puppy and felt like they were pulling our arms out of our sockets in order to sniff the puppy. When the stairs cleared I decided we had better press on while we could.

Close up of the falls and the middle landing.  Half way up the dogs and the four year old decided they were afraid of heights!  lol

It was about halfway up the second set of stairs that I felt like my lungs were about to explode. Matthew was scared and clinging to the rails, Isis was trying to drag me up to be with Austin and Chloe, and I feel like I am going to die. There were people waiting at the top to climb down so I pressed on, red faced, out of shape, and winded.

At the top of the stairs, there was another 2 hour round trip to Helen Hunt's burial site, but at 4pm I started freaking out that we had started way too late, that I was exhausted, and most importantly that we had to get the dogs back down those steps, potentially in the dark! Austin and I were deciding how we were going to get the dogs down the stairs and I think we had just decided that when we got back to the stairs, that Austin and Chris would go down with one dog, and Chris would wait at the bottom with the one dog, while Austin would climb back up to get the other dog and head down again. At about this time a gentleman approached us and said that they would be closing the path soon and that he would be happy to take one of the dogs down half way for us so I could use two hands to hold onto the rail with the baby on my back. On the middle landing, a young gentleman offered to take the dog the rest of the way down so our first volunteer could wait for his wife to come down the stairs.

About this time I was feeling pretty bummed that we could not finish our hike, so we decided to take the mountain elevator to the other side of the canyon to see views of the falls.

Kids & dogs.

The falls were gorgeous, although I do wish they had been more swollen with water. I bet in the spring when the snow is melting they are an amazing sight.

They call it 7 falls because there are 7 different waterfalls.

I will really miss the red rocks of Colorado. By this time I was already looking forward to taking another hike through Garden of the Gods one last time before we leave Colorado.

The beautiful red rocks of Colorado.  I will miss this when we leave.

Sophie was pretty bored with the whole trip, she didn't quite understand why I would not let her climb up the stairs that were no more than plastic steps supported by a single beam in the center of the steps and handrails.

Me with my monkey on my back.  Err, Sophie in her Ergo carrier.

The little boys had a good time, even if they did not get to finish the hike.

Posing with the falls.  Matthew, Christopher, and Austin.

We took the scenic drive on the way home and decided I would take the boys out to dinner for the fist time in months after I showered. While in the shower I realized that my friend had NOT recommended Seven Falls, where we had gone. But a lesser waterfall down the road in a free area without any stairs! Next time I will run in and mapquest driving directions to any place that my GPS cannot find, and I won't push the kids and dogs and I up an area that is too much for us. I don't regret the trip at all, I just wish we had left the dogs at home and gone earlier to be able to take the two hour hike.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

OMG I am DYING laughing!! I missed church the next day after my hike cause I could barely walk! Helen hunt falls is the same general direction as seven falls but if you make it to the pay station you've gone to far. There is a turn off there somwhere. Kind of hard to explain.