“At least it will make a good blog,” I laughed.
“What will you title it?” he asked.
I thought for a second, but really, there was only one choice: “‘Up to my crotch,’ of course.”
– – – – – – – –
See, what happened is… I have a friend named Bennett. He and I knew each other when we lived in Seattle, but in the last few years, had totally fallen out of touch – until I ran into him at a church here in Denver last month. I didn’t know he lived here, he didn’t know I lived here – there was hugging and exclaiming.
Yesterday, Bennett and I went hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. He is rugged and outdoorsy and works at REI, so he is a good person to follow into the wilderness. The first two miles of the trail were snowy, but we only sunk in to our ankles or so. It was promising to be a doable 8 miler.
“Look at that mountain,” Bennett said. “We could climb it.”
I followed his stare to a 12,000 foot peak. “THAT?” I asked. “THAT is not on the path.” A planner to the extreme, I have a hard time deviating from any original goal. THAT mountain was not a part of my Sunday ambition.
“It wouldn’t take that long. We could be at the top in an hour,” he said. Bennett knows these things. He cuts his own trails all the time. He drives a 4-Runner and has a dog. He owns, like, FIVE backpacks. Plus, he is very tall.
And I, thirsty for adventure and a well-deserved beer at the end of the day, found myself saying, “Okay!”
We left the path, and began to cut our own across a snowy field. Bennett went first, and I followed literally in his footsteps, stretching to place my foot where his had been by matching his very long stride. “How tall are you?” I asked. “6’3″,” he answered. I grunted.
The snow got deeper and deeper, and suddenly, with one step, Bennett’s foot sunk and his entire leg was submerged. The snow had to be at least 4 feet deep, and the sun had softened it just enough that it would no longer hold our weight.
Disaster? Turn back now? Not when you have a MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB.
I followed Bennett for two hours, one step at a time, across the snowy terrain and precisely in his footsteps – meaning that I was bending my knees up to hip-level, only to plunge my feet down into holes made by Bennett’s very long legs. Sometimes, the holes were so deep that my foot would not reach the bottom, and I would be stuck, UP TO MY CROTCH, in snow. And then, with both legs floating in holes so deep that I had no solid ground beneath my feet, immobile and helpless, I would call for Bennett – and he would come back and pluck me out of the ground.
Like a carrot.
We did not make it to the top of the mountain. But our 4-hour adventure did result in me writing a blog featuring the ugliest word in the world – twice.