In a move that surprised me after 18 years of marriage, Jack agreed to go on TWO hikes with me yesterday. First we did a gentle loop around Sylvan Lake, where I intend to swim tomorrow if the temperatures reach their predicted 100. The lake is gorgeous and you can swim out and touch these rocks.
But then he said yes to CATHEDRAL SPIRES, a trail marked as “strenuous but worth it” by most reviewers.
Off we set, me carrying the frozen bottle of water, camera, trail map, and Jack’s fortified cokes, Jack wearing his sunglasses and looking very much like a doomed man the night before his execution.
We hadn’t gone a quarter of a mile before we found that 1) we were in over our fitness level and 2) shady spots on the trail were prime real estate. People would stop and rest in these, and fairly often you’d find someone who had been abandoned by their walking comrades, who were headed up while the person waited patiently on a rock. Looking winded and somewhat crestfallen.
At an early shade stop, we chanced upon a young couple with dachshunds. My friend Elissa is a dachshund rescuer and whenever we travel, I take photos of any we see and send them to her. I asked the couple of they’d mind me photographing their dogs, and they said no, but why?
When I told them about Elissa, the lady said, “These are rescue dachshunds. Bug is the spotted one and Penny is the black and tan. What’s your friend’s rescue’s name?”
I explained that Pam Lucas ran In His Hands Small Animal Rescue and Elissa was CEO of the Dachshund Division. The woman’s face crinkled.
“I’ve liked their rescue on Facebook,” she said. “I keep up with them.”
I laughed, then said I’d tell them so. “What’s your name?”
“Erica Spicer,” she replied with a friendly nod.
Well, Erica was the person who promoted my spay and neuter kitty afghans via her rescue, and became my Facebook friend, more than a year ago. We shook hands and made remarks to the effect that it is a small world after all, and off Jack and I went. Little doxie legs need longer to climb a “strenuous but worth it” trail.
With many stops, Jack and I finally summited the Spires – but not before also meeting a woman from Dingwall, Scotland, and holding a brief Brexit argument with some folk at another shading hole. At the top we chatted with two people whose daughter had married a Scotsman from Aberdeen. And I took pictures of Jack enjoying his Coke. It’s amazing the places you can get a Coke these days.
As we started back down, we met Team Erica just reaching the home stretch of the trail. I only snapped a picture of her back because by the time I thought to ask to take one, they were moving forward, and that part of the trail was not a psychologically good place to stop. The Catherdral Spires are about a mile and a half more or less straight up, then back down, with a few easier stretches along the way. The point where we met Erica was just after you have to basically hand over hand climb a stretch of rock, and the trail bends sharply. So you can’t see that you are in fact at the home stretch, the Spires are just in front of you up a gentle incline, and you’re there. On the way up, Jack had said to me in the very same spot, “If this isn’t the top, it’s the top for me. I’ll wait for you.”
Yeah yeah, insert life metaphor about not giving up two feet from gold. Anyway, Erica had just puffed her way through those rocks and I wasn’t about to stop her head of steam that close to the glorious view. So here’s her backside, and Penny and Bug’s and her husband’s. Penny was pretty much towing at this point, looking quite pleased with herself.
We ambled back down. The road home is always shorter for some reason. On the way Jack said, “I feel like I’ve summited Mt. Everest.” Yep.
At the top you are sitting among the spires. Enjoy the scenery. We sure did! See if you see a Christmas tree and two chess pieces, like I did.