Monday, April 10, 2006

I volunteer, so therefore I care.....

So my friend Rhiannon and I volunteered this weekend for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
The project took place south of La Junta, CO in Picket Wire Canyon. You might have heard about it lately due to the dinosaur tracks found next to the river in 1991. So this project was all about cutting down the destructive and non-indigenous plant, tamarisk, out of protected National Grassland areas.
You got to camp down there at night and work hard for the environment during the day. It sounded like heaven.
Too bad I missed the caravan into the canyon.

Apparently, we had just missed the last shuttle into the canyon (it was in a protected military area, so no outside vehicles). We drove 3.5 hours like the dickens, only to be late without any cell phone reception in the middle of nowhere.

What to do, what to do.
I told Rhiannon we should make chicken salad out of chicken shit!
Let’s go camping anyway!

Although she didn’t appreciate my humorous analogy the moment we realized we were screwed, she reluctantly agreed with me.

There was plenty to do in Picket Wire Canyon! Mainly, the dinosaur tracks!

Luckily there was a new campsite 3.5 miles from where we were, with 1 spot open – just for us. We set up tent, and drove the half hour back to town just to get supplies for the night/next day.
We stayed up till the wee hours of the morning just shootin’ the shite, and ended up spending the rest of the night trying to sleep in a tent, on rocks. Fun fun fun! Good thing I had my iPod to drown out all the noise of nature! Otherwise, I would’ve been up every 10 minutes saying, “What was that?” Off to sleepy land for me! Rhiannon was not so lucky. She told me the next day she had only slept a couple hours.

Well you would’ve never known it by her hiking abilities. We did a full 12 mile hike with only a few 5 minute rests to include bathroom breaks, re-applying sunscreen, and grabbing for water and power bars. We got to the dino tracks after 3 hours. But unfortunately we got there around noon – and the convoy from VOC was returning at 2pm. Rhi wanted to meet up with Paul (who had been there working all weekend) and so decided to start back ASAP after a 10 minute pause to look around. We started back with my feet killing me, and only 1 16 oz bottle of water for each of us. Although she was determined to make it back in only two hours – I was walking WELL behind her. We did a pretty good job at covering about 2 miles in an hour, but I couldn’t do the remainder at the same pace. Rhi then gave me the back pack and decided to run the rest of the way back – including back UP a mountain to get out of the canyon. I though she was crazy.
It took me the full 3 hours to get back to the top – with no water, and blisters the size of quarters inside my 8 year old worthless hiking boots.
I mean, ME? Run? Have you SEEN my boobs? They were objecting from the bumpy car ride into the camp ground alone!

So I think for my first hike of the year, I did a great job. Next time I will get new boots for support, more water, and a better sunhat to shade my delicate alabaster skin, which is now the color of salmon! Kudos to Rhiannon who ran up a mountain to meet Paul – only to find he had already left at 8 minutes after 2 pm when she arrived! Holy Crap! I guess there really IS a benefit to being a health nut!

As for me – I rewarded myself by eating a nice meal of Indian food, and drinking some Dale’s Pale Ale out of the can!

And not to worry. I have photos to post which will explain everything!


totalvo said...

sounds like funnnnnnnnn

Josh said...

That sounds like a hell hike to me. I like to take a camera and stroll along snapping pictures here and there. Smell the F'n roses. yep.
Running! are you crazy! Was there a mountain lion around? a skunk? No offense Rhiannon. health nuts are weirdoes. : )
Nope, hikes should have no deadlines. I get enough of all that at work.

Amber said...

I can't imagine that looking like salmon feels good. It sucks you didn't actually get to do what you went for.

Denny said...

sounds like the first misadventure of the outdoor season. YEAH !!

Aaron said...

Cas, you need some kind of kevlar sports bra... or something.

Amber said...

Running is NOT for everyone, regardless of sports bra.

Paul said...

Cassiopiea (sp?), I agree with Denny's attitude about your hike. "Misadventure" is the perfect description because it implies that at least part of your experience was an adventure. I mean, how else would you have figured out that you could do a 12-mile hike into and out of a canyon that looks like it was one of Indiana Jones's old stomping grounds? This time the holy grail being the knowledge that you can hike 12 miles in nearly 90 degree weather down and then back up a canyon wall with no shade. What's next? Denali? K-2? EVEREST? Shoot for the stars! Besides all that, you got to see one of the largest dinosaur tracksites in the world (yup, the world), a piece of our collective natural history that is, at the minimum, 65 million years old. And they happen to be eroding away. Consider yourself part of an elite because they might be gone soon. Josh, I agree that health nuts can be weirdos but so can aesthetes. And many, many other kinds of people, most likely including strangies like me.

S E E Quine said...

` I think misadventures can be the funnest kind of adventure!