Mystic Writer

Peeking out to see if there is a real world out there...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Happily humbled

"We can climb that" I commented to Ad's butt as I gazed through the windshield at the wall of rock jutting from the desert.

His reply was muffled as it came from the back seat "I know we can climb it but we don't have time. We need to be in Phoenix to catch a flight tomorrow and it's at least a six hour drive".

He started to get back in the passengers seat and I jacked the brake playfully "I saw a rabbit!". He bounced around a little and glared at my happy smile. "I don't want to climb that!".

"My day to drive" I pronounced and pulled the car up to a faint trail. Ad bounced out, said "I grabbed all the beer" and started up the trail after stopping to look at an old map tacked to a twisted cedar.

I popped the trunk, grabbed my backpack and tried to catch up with Ad. He was moving up the trail fast and I didn't catch him till we'd climbed to the top.

The view was astonishing. South the desert stretched well into Mexico and the sparse vegetation was in bloom. From our height the colors smeared and blotched and looked like an abstract painting on a brick red canvas. To the north the rock folded and dipped in eye confounding complexity.

Ad was finishing a beer "Want one?". "Nope" I replied "We've got a long drive and I don't want a one beer headache". We looked some more and Ad started toward the far side of the rock wall.

"Ad, what are you doing? The car is back that way". "It's a loop trail" he replied and took off heading down. Again he moved fast and I didn't catch him till he was at the bottom.

Ad was looking at the trail ahead as it headed back up the wall. I gave him a look and he said "I need another beer". I watched him drink it and then said "Give me one. I'm going to need it to climb back up - that's got to be 900 feet tall". Ad replied "Not bad, the map said 850. I just drank the last beer".

I glared at him again and started back up the way we'd came. "What are you doing? It's a loop" Ad called as he headed the other way.

I didn't really want to follow him but I also didn't want to have to find the idiot as he wandered the desert so I turned to follow him. He wasn't moving as fast but neither was I and I was starting to feel dehydrated.

The top was a long time in coming and when I arrived Ad was looking straight down. I joined him and looked down the sheer cliff at our car. "Got a parachute?" I asked and then laughed at him "Loop! I'm guessing you didn't notice the topo lines on the map, huh?".

He was embarrassed and didn't say anything as I pulled off my backpack and pulled out a beer I had left over from an earlier hike. I drank it slowly and with relish, took a look in my pack and gave Ad a satisfied smile as I slung it on my back.

The walk back down, then up, then down was painful but wonderfully satisfying as Ad's humbled silence stretched out.

We didn't get to Phoenix till midnight.


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