Friday, September 24, 2010

Back in One Piece - mostly

We are back. What a trip!

It rained. It really rained. The type where the water comes down in sheets for hours. We did not set up the tents in hopes that it would quit. It didn't.

Instead, we started off on a three to four hour hike. In the rain. We ended up wet - wetter than I think I have ever been when I wasn't swimming. Wet through all layers. Wet so that water was running down my jeans in rivulets. Soaked.

Amazingly, after you get to a certain point, you realize that you can't get any wetter, so nothing can get worse. We just kept plodding along in the pouring rain. Then, high up on some rocks after we had encouraged, pushed, and pulled the entire group of kids up a face of a rock, through a cave, and up through a little hole, we heard the thunder. High up, soaking wet, surrounded by kids, we heard the thunder. As tired and aching as we were, there was only one thing to do - boot it back to camp. It was another hour and a half hike, but it had to be done in quick time.

We made it. We arrived back to only a covered area like a large gazebo - no walls. Our stuff was piled there, and animals had dug through it. We retrieved what we could and attempted to find dry clothes. There was time for a quick cup of coffee, and then we had to set up tents - in the pouring rain and blowing wind and thunder. If there had been a way out, we would have gone home, but there was none. The drivers who were to get us had gone back and would not return until the next day.

After setting up the tents, we were again soaked. We stood to eat a hurried supper, and then changed one more time and crawled into our beds and prayed the tents would stay waterproof.

They didn't.

And the animals arrived back at 3 am. Time to chase them away again.

Morning came early. Time to pack up wet tents, put on anything dry we owned. Time for a hurried breakfast. It had stopped raining and was only sprinkling.

We decided to do a second hike. Beautiful scenery, amazing. But it began to rain again. Today's hike took us up over, under, and around rocks several stories high. My son, the one with no fear, went over everything up higher than he should have. He acted as the scout a few times directing the group through some tight spots.

I tried to maneuver between boulders at one point and slipped. Wedged myself between two large rocks out of earshot of the group. It took a bit of effort to extract myself, but I got back on top with only a banged up elbow and a broken toe, so I continued on.

Then it rained on the way back, fine misty rain which made the rocks more treacherous.

We made it back to the the starting point all grimy, sweaty, cold, and exhausted. Most of us then plunged into the freezing water in order to wash off, and then struggled back into our damp clothes to head home.

It was quite the trip. Amazing scenery. But a little like boot camp to get through it.

We got back to the school, and they tell us that we are the only group in the history to finish the hike - all the other groups gave up part way through. Now they tell us!!! I think we were just so miserable and wet that we kept plodding, kept climbing and going on without thinking.

But it is an accomplishment. We made it to the end - the group that faced the most severe weather in the history of these trips was the only group to have ever made it to the end.

If someone forced me to do that every day for a week or two, I'd lose these pesky ten pounds I'd like to lose. Hey, I may have even lost a few of them already!

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