Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The town that dreaded sundown

Me and my big ideas.  My shoulder was still really bothering me and the thought of doing Supreme 90's Tabata Inferno was making me think that would be a mistake if I want it to heal.  So I thought "hey, we back up to a state park, let's hike instead!"  Yeah, that sounds good in theory but by the time The Mr got home it seemed like the beams of sunshine were fading fast.  It was going to be the last nice day of the week before winter shows up and we'll have to wrap up like mummies so we thought we'd just go and not dawdle.

As we pull into the park there is a beautiful brilliant sunset.  Note I said sunset.  Not the sun was starting to set, I'm talking the sun was kissing the treetops goodnight before settling into its bed for the night.  We hit start on the heart rate monitors, start walking and about 5 minutes in I said "we're going to be really screwed in about 15 minutes."  He agreed.  The ground squished beneath our feet as we walked.  This is January, right?  It should be cold hard ground with frozen footprints from previous hikers in the mud making getting your footing difficult not squishing along like we're slogging through a swamp.  We crossed the road onto the "extra" trail where we get some decent heart rate action and this huge bird flies into the treetop as if to claim dibs on us when one of us expires in the darkness.  I envisioned running antler first into a deer and my carcass having to be retrieved in the morning as the Mr curled up in my skin or something for warmth.  We walked a little faster.  As we crossed back over the road and the oranges of the distant sunset faded into a cream, light blue and navy blue sky with no moon, we spotted a creepy little man crossing the trail that intersected ours.  I kept my ears open and kept looking behind me to let him know "we know you're here and we will not be taken out by a serial killer in a park.  Prepare to die little man."  Thankfully he kept on his trail whilst we kept on ours.

I told the Mr we should consider having a stick on us to ward off deer, squirrels and Sasquatches.  He picks up this stick that is like the size of a shank and I said "what are you going to play fetch with him?"  On we trudged and it was getting dark quickly and the temp was dropping.  He found a more suitable (read: longer) stick so that we could at least attempt to beat dingoes off from 4' away instead of 12".  We were holding hands and he was kind of dragging me along a bit in the mud which I didn't like because I felt like I was holding him back and/or I would fall in the mud.  I wanted to dramatically yell "save yourself and send help in the morning.  I'll try to hold on" but I refrained. The sound of the creek made me realize I had to pee.  I wondered if I could stop and wee in the woods?  Probably shouldn't.  Every second counted.  Besides, I may need to pee on myself for warmth ala Harry and Lloyd on the scooter in Aspen.  We finally came to the intersection of the beginning of the trail which said we had about 1/4 mile left just as we were getting to that panicky darkness.  In the end, it was an interesting brisk hike but I suppose it could've always been worse...

Source:  The Blair Witch Project IMDB page
Have you ever gone walking a little too close to sunset and ended up in the dark?

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18 comments:

  1. Matter of fact yes. About 14 years ago, husband and I were at a state park beach front hiking, picnicking and decided to stay a lil bit longer until after sunset in hopes to see turtles. Well we did not see turtles, but quickly realized the state park had closed and the entrance gate was locked We could not drive around the gate for the heavy vegetation and palm trees or pick the massive lock. I thought it was the funniest thing ever, although he now thinks it is comical husband did not think that at the time. It was going on midnight, and after husband finally came to the realization the gate had won we drove around the other part of park we hadn't before and came across some cabins, one with the lights one. I knocked on the front door and a nice couple answered. I explained our situation and after they laughed they followed us back to the gate and unlocked it for us.

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  2. I am amazed at just how much light we still had when we left but we were extremely lucky because within minutes of driving through the (thankfully open) gate those last bits of sunset were completely gone. It was a great walk though and you had no problem keeping up with me. I was ready to build a lean-to if we had to spend the night there - leaving you there was not an option :-)

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  3. The thing about walking (or running) in the dark is that you can't really gauge how far you've gone. "OK, just until the end of the block" means nothing because you can't see the end of the block. I've come to really enjoy night-time walks because of that mystery but I do bring a small flashlight along (for me, the most menacing thing I will encounter is a wayward deer.)

    Early on, I developed my running life on dark nights - - I figured no one could see me so I could do whatever I wanted!

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  4. I've had a few close calls with some venomous ducks, and that put an end to my night strolls!

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  5. I'm often in the dark no matter the time of day. Oh, not what you meant?

    My problem isn't so much night-time hikes, as early morning walks. I haven't for a long time, but for a while there I walked in the mornings. Places that are familiar and friendly during the day can be just downright creepy in the pre-dawn hours.

    You guys should invest in a walking stick. It could help you on rough terrain and double as a dingo beater.

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  6. Oh boy, have I ever! It was Nov. 23, 2010. I started out to hike solo to the top of the highest mountain in Texas. OK, stop laughing, this is serious! Honestly, its height at the summit is 8750 feet, and I started out at 5600. It's a nine-mile round trip--who knew it would take me nine hours? By the time my husband found me with a flashlight, it was full dark, and I was feeling my way down the trail with my walking stick (good idea by the way). I have the full story on a blog somewhere, if you ever want the hairy details. ;)

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  7. Ok this made me giggle. Not the predicament because myself I would have freaked out but the description. Especially the Dumb and dumber reference. Glad you both survived and here's hoping for a healed shoulder soon1

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  8. Thanks for the morning giggles. Do you guys just laugh all the way through your hikes and workouts and does your witty hilarious commentary stay in your head and only gets spilled out later in your blogs? I think just being around you would be a workout from me laughing so hard at your sense of humor!

    Ok, to answer your question, my favorite running areas are along highways where there have been numerous mountain lion sightings. I tend to stay away from those areas after dark, even though in darkness is my favorite time to run. But even on my in-town runs, I've seen raccoons, possum (opossum, oppossum? = too lazy to dictionary.com it today), cats that look like wild animals when you catch them out of the corner of your eye and even a stray turtle. I do see crazy-looking people out walking too and try to formulate plans of attack/escape. Keeps my mind off of the task at hand which at times can be a workout saver. :) Happy Humpy Day :)

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  9. Oh, I love your story telling ability!!! Started off my day with a great laugh--thanks!

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  10. See my blog from today over at Spark: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4673428

    I think we need an extra hour of daylight, so that on these unseasonably warm days in Jan. (I'm in Nebr.) we can walk after work, without worrying about darkness setting in before we're done. I have a bright orange reflective vest to wear, but I hate it. On my walks, I have also occasionally looked around frantically for some weapon to fend off an attack from a dog or other wild animal, when I feared one was imminent. The attack has never happened, but I also have never been able to find a very good weapon laying around on the ground. I wonder how badly you could hurt a rabid dog with an empty beer can?

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  11. OMG - laughed so hard I thought I might tinkle! Glad you and the Mr. made it out alive!!!

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  12. OMG! I burst out laughing so many times, I had the cats all jittery!

    I've seen the Blair Witch Project!

    I have also, in fact, got caught on a wilderness trail (walk-in only, in bear country... you know one of those places you're supposed to register before you head out onto a trail... I didn't)... it was around 2 pm when I'd left, and it was now dark, so that gives you some idea how far I had gone (I was moving FAST)... I'd turned around when I realized the sun was dropping below the trees. I had already encountered a fox, a deer, and several other critters, wearing only a pair of light shorts and a tank top, no food or water, or bug spray, and nobody knew where I'd gone... I walked off in a major huff (still a better choice than everything I might have said, I think)... I still wonder at my stupidity.

    It's amazing how dark can change the landscape and stir one's imagination... mine sounds a lot like yours under similar circumstances.

    This was a GREAT read, and you once again showed us what determination and commitment look like!

    Love ya'
    Ramona

    P.s. I LOVED the Mr's comment!

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  13. Hahaha I second Kristen! I am so happy you're alive! :D :D

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  14. Um, yeah--been there, done that, NOT fun! It's one thing if you plan on doing a nighttime walk and are prepared with lights and a good walking stick, another entirely to be out and realize you'll be finishing your hike in the darkness. Glad you both made it out okay!

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  15. Okay, I'm cracking up that we're not the only ones who have done this. I can't climb a fence and I had this horrible vision of the Mr having to scale the huge chain link fence at the back of the park and come to the front of the park and pick me up. I guess many of us have tried to race the sun and lost! HA!

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  16. Oh my! I've done that in the city a few times, but never on the trails!

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  17. I'm so glad the dingoes and sasquatches didn't get you!!! I've never been on a hike after dark, but my husband and I did get lost on a hike this past summer! here's a link http://czesialives.blogspot.com/2011/07/licked-and-ticked.html

    It was much worse than it sounded..especially with a cranky giant :)

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  18. Last July. Elk preserve NW of San Francisco. We turned back when we saw coyotes, about 30 min before official sunset and 3 miles from the trailhead. We didn't want to tempt the mountain lions. We double-timed it back an arrived just before dark with no moon. The funniest part was the 7 mile drive back on roads with no lights. We had to keep slowing down to avoid critters. We literally scared the poop out of some poor fox.

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