Monday, August 9, 2010

Early August Adventures

Or:  How Much Can One Middle Aged Woman Cram Into Five Days Without Killing Herself?
Part I

So, last Wednesday was Dominic's day to be spoiled by Mom.  He's up at Knights of the Altar Boys' Camp this week, and heads off to school in Omaha this coming weekend, so we had to hurry to get a day in together.  He knew he was in for a hike and was alright (better than just alright) with that, but, being a practical kind of kid, he suggested we also find some time to go get some socks and underwear for school.  I was happy to oblige. We went to good ole Wmart in the late afternoon and finished up our day together at the movie theater, catching Nicholas Cage (Do you like Nick?  I can't decide about him...) in the Sorceror's Apprentice (which, we thought was lots of fun if you don't mind all the exercise suspending your disbelief...). But before the shopping and the movie, we had some things to take care of.

We had to go to my favorite place (whether Dominic liked it or not) -- Ouray, Colorado.  We had lunch at Bien Tiempo, a great little Mexican restaurant.  This is the view from the patio:

And here are the clouds we watched rolling in just in time to rain  -- not on our lunch -- but definitely on  our hiking plans:

We were undaunted,  though, and decided to pursue the hike, just bring our umbrella and hope it didn't start to thunder and lightning.   Dominic and I have a history of exciting adventures together so a little rain didn't faze us a bit, so long as we weren't setting ourselves up to be lightning rods ...

 But before we left -- and before I left my keys on the corner of the bar and had to walk all the way back from the car in the rain to get them -- we had to find out how all the dollar bills came to be stuck on the ceiling of the restaurant.

Dominic asked the bartender and -- for a dollar -- the nice young man was happy to show us. 

He put a tack through the dollar bill, stuck it, pointy side sticking out, to a stack of taped up quarters with a little piece of rolled up tape...

... and threw it expertly up to the ceiling (like he'd done it before a few times maybe)...
...and, of course, our dollar joined all the others tacked up on the ceiling.   (You see that one? Right.  There.)   I wonder who gets all these when they decide to clean it all up?  And I wonder if this would work for decorating with crepe paper at birthday parties? (hmmmm...)

Then, after we'd eaten, we headed up into the mountains.  I had Dan's little Toyota Rev IV, which has good clearance but absolutely.  no.  power.  Still, it turned out to be the Little Car That Could. Almost
  We did make it up the mountain -- in a litle town car not intended for a jeep trail -- in the rain -- and mud -- on paths only big enough for one car  mountain goat at a time -- over rock outcroppings and under hanging ledges dripping with rain -- all the way....  Well.  Almost. All the way to Yankee Boy Basin and the famous Twin Waterfalls (as seen on beer cans all over the world where Coors is imbibed).

We really did make it all the way up.  But not in the car...

 Actually, what really happened was we got about a mile from the summit (as seen in the pictures below), before I lost my nerve on a sticky little spot...   This is how it looked: Thousand foot drop out my driver's side window to the river bed far below, a narrow track ahead, the left side of which was a mud puddle, the right side of which was a large slippery rock.  I would have had to navigate cockeyed (slanting downward toward my left arm), one side of the car in the slippery mud, one side on the slippery rock, with that thousand foot drop out the side of my left eye. 

 I decided against it. 

But, then.  Whatever else happened, we still had to get back down to a place where we could turn the car around.  Remember, we were on a trail that was only one jeep wide. Headed straight up.   Can you hear me praying?  Can you imagine the saints I called upon?  Silently so as not to alarm my stalwart and steadfastly confident son at my side? 

He wasn't worried.  But I was worried.  Are you worried?

Don't worry.  We did make it.  You can tell because here I am living to tell the tale, right?  In short, though, I had to back the Rev IV down the (did I mention it was steep) trail (remember: thousand foot drop off my left elbow, rocky cliff on Dominic's right elbow)...

Backing down.  Backing down.  Slooooowly backing down..  Ooooooh..... dear.....  going over a rock.... Bumps me to the left.   Catch a glimpse of the riverbed waaaay down at the bottom of the cliff I'm hovering next toowoowoo...... "Am I alright, Dominic?  Can I veer over to your side?" 

"Yeah, you better do that."

Ba-a-a-cking up.  Ba-a-a-a-cking up.  Carefully turning the wheels to head closer to the cliff on Dominic's side ... (Heart thumping.  Hands sweaty.)  Brush against some shrubbery growing against the side of the cliff.  Straighten it out.  Straighten it out. 

(Angel of God, my Guardian Dear...)  Looking out the rearview.  Glimpsing through the drivers' side mirror.  Looking over my shoulder.  Backing down.  Sloooooowly.  "Anybody coming, Dominic?"

"No.  You're good." 

(Calm as a cucumber, this kid.  Has perfect faith in me.)

(Serioulsy misguided child.)

Backing up.  Sloooooowly.....  "How'm I doin', Dominic?"

"You might want to get over a little."

(Oh,thanks for telling me!  Were you not going to say anything until I asked? -- Calm down, Lisa....  We're doing fine....)

"St. Raphael guide us...  St. Michael protect us....  St. Christoper be with us..."

(Or is that St. Michael guide, St. Christoper protect, St. Raphael be with us???  Anyway....  Our Lady of the Highway get us down off this mountain -- the slow way!)

Still backing down.  See a widening in the road.  "Can we turn around there, Dominic?"


And so we did. 
We guessed it was a quarter of a mile we backed down before we got to a (barely) wide-enough turn around in the trail.  Then we drove down a little ways to where we could park the car safely and walked up the last mile in the rain.  It was worth the trouble, too.  It looked like this:

(See that rock in the crevice up there on the left?  It's taller than a man.  We were thinking this looked like an Indiana Jones near miss...)

Beautiful.  Beautiful.  It was beautiful even in the rain.  And did we feel like we'd accomplished something?

 You bet we did!

*  Stay tuned for the next installment of Lisa's Squeezing-It-All-In  Summer Adventures (and misadventures), the 2010 Edition...   


GrandmaK said...

What a wonderful adventure!!!! One meant to last a lifetime!!! Well done! Cathy

Sara said...

How scary---and I love the pic of your strong, handsome son with the pink umbrella after his adventure!

MightyMom said...

Better you than me!

Love Nicholas Cage!
Love Sorcer's Apprentice!!!

Don't you know all that true to life realism is why we watch those movies!!!

Laura said...

So great to make all these memories (clever money making dollar scheme btw) and great pics.

Sarah Oldham said...

Oh, Lord. My stomach was in my mouth reading that. I love majestic views and nature trails, but my stomach would have been outta my body . . . or I'd have left the car and walked back to somewhere safe . . . you are a BRAVE and trusting gel!
I love the pic w/ the pink umbrella as well. Chic.

Aubrey said...

Oh, BEAUTIFUL. I can't wait to visit Ouray someday. The drive sounds scary, as many drives in the Rockies do! But the view, oh, the view is worth it!! (They always are.)