|This is a view FROM the mountain, not of it, just so you know.|
I have some very vague memories of going up there for a tour as a pretty young kid - I must have been seven or eight. I just remember some paved trails and hanging out with my cousin and dad. Clearly my memory is foggy on this particular event and were it more clear I am pretty sure I would have planned this outing differently.
Last week my dear friend Jeannie and I decided we wanted to take our kids up for a tour of the caves. We picked a day, Monday the 22nd, and around last Thursday I thought I should probably call ahead for some tickets. I was right, I should have....about a week before that. I guess their cave tour tickets sell out every single day and it can be hard to get a good time. Luckily they did have some space that day for our slightly largish group but it wasn't until 2:45 in the afternoon. Warm!! I would have just called Jeannie and rescheduled, but we also had the hopes and dreams of a third 10-year-old boy, Nick, riding with us - he is the son of anther dear friend who moved to San Francisco yesterday and she desperately needed an outing for her son while she was busy loading the moving truck. Nick was really hoping for this trip to Mount Timp before he moved away so we decided to go for it.
I will confess that as I looked at the weather for the week I wasn't very excited that the one day predicted to be above 100 degrees was the day of our hike. Oh well. (Remember that bit about me picking things poorly? Yeah, like I said.)
Luckily I have a great many dear friends and another one of them was possibly kept awake the night before our hike thinking about me taking Bundle up there. I had heard a lot about the steepness of the trail and I vaguely remembered that part, but hey, it's paved, right? How bad could it be? I could just make her walk as far as she would go and then throw her on my back or shoulders. I told this to my friend, Emily, but she called me rather early on Monday morning telling me that she just couldn't let me take Bundle up there. I was dumb enough to protest but luckily when I made the offer to Bundle to play with friends instead of hiking she was excited to take me up on it.
I am very grateful for Emily's forceful suggestion. I really had no idea what I was getting into.
I'm making myself sound like the most pathetic hiker ever. I'm not saying that isn't absolutely true, but what makes this hike extra hard is not just getting yourself up 1 1/2 miles and 1000 feet of elevation, it's getting a bunch of iPad-happy kids up there along with you. Not an easy task.
|Little did they know how they would be feeling in 15 short minutes...|
We got down to the visitors center at our scheduled time: 2:45 on the nose. We were given a ticket with our hike start time and our tour start time; a full hour and a half after our hike time started. I guffawed, I confess. An HOUR and a HALF to go 1.5 miles? There is no way it was going to take us that long!!
Except that it did.
It was so hot! And that trail is pretty much totally exposed to the afternoon sun, its path carving switchbacks all the way up pretty much to the top. Within about 150 feet all the kids were begging to sit down and rest and declaring that they were never going to make it. Well, all except one. That would be the one female child, the one 3 years younger than all the boys. Bitty was a total trooper and didn't complain even once. She is an awesome hiker! The boys....well....I'll just say that I have just decided that the boys who are most interested and fascinated with Super Heroes are the boys least able to imitate them. I need to get Stomper out more. Actually by the end of the hike he had pulled it together and had made a good effort. So did everyone - all the kids, despite their assertions of never making it, each did eventually make it to the top. Considering the sweat I was producing (not to mention the accompanying smell - woah!) all I could think was how grateful I was not to have a 40 lb kid on my back or shoulders along for the ride. Truly, that would have been wretched.
But the caves were so awesome! (I'm pretty sure Bundle would have hated them - double good she got an extended playdate that day instead.) The cool air felt wonderful, the formations were so beautiful and eerie and awe-inspiring. We were all so refreshed and astounded that we barely noticed the hike back down - it seemed like nothing, especially after I told everyone that ice cream from the snack bar was on me once we got down. What they didn't know was that I meant that quite literally. I had dreams of buying two frosty topped cones and sticking them straight into my armpits. I refrained, but only just.
You're not going to believe this but I am excited to do this again. I am, however, going to take note of a couple of things to remember for next time.
Don't go in July.
Don't go in the afternoon.
Bundle may join us when she turns seven.
I need to get my kids up more mountains before this happens again.
Troy needs to come next time to enjoy it as well, plus take better pictures than I could.
Don't wait 30+ years to go again.
|We Did It! (Can we lie down now?)|
|Not a flattering picture of me, but I had to show off my super hot sweaty and glowing face.|