Robin Hood and I had been planning to hike La Luz (home of the annual La Luz Trail Run) since our anniversary back in April. Other priorities kept popping up like moles you whack in that carnival game, and way-laid our hike — until last weekend!
Our plan was to park at the trailhead early on Sunday morning, hike up the mountain, eat lunch at the restaurant at the top, and ride the tram back down. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
We thought so. We started our hike a little after 6:30. The sun still sat behind the mountains, but provided sufficient light to see the trail. The temperature was gloriously cool. We had walked for about a mile when we were struck by what I like to call the “La Luz Conundrum.” My car was at the trailhead. We were going to take the tram down the mountain. The base of the tram was…not at the trailhead.
**Insert sound of forehead-slapping here**
Aaaaaand poof, we could look forward to a few extra miles of hiking! Luckily, there was a connector trail from the base of the tram to the trailhead, so we wouldn’t be completely stranded.
Robin Hood and I took our time, with liberal water and snack breaks, which frequently turned into “Shannon experimenting with her smartphone camera” breaks. When we got close to the end of the trail, we parked ourselves on a huge rock for one last rest and gazed around, marveling at how much we could see and how far we had come.
I’ll say this: if you want to get to know a person better, go on a long hike with them. Long hikes are excellent tests of patience, stamina, sense of humor, patience, adaptability, and patience. EVERYONE in the hiking party will at some point:
* get tired
* get hungry
* want to walk faster or slower
* get sick of leap-frogging the same people repeatedly
* need to pee in the bushes
* wonder if this is the correct trail, or if it’s actually a trail leading to the lair of a giant man-eating chipmunk
…and the list goes on. It’s all about the balance of things. When someone gets tired, someone else suggests a rest stop, or tells amusing stories as a distraction. When someone needs to pee in the bushes, someone else acts as the lookout. It can absolutely work. And if the hike ends with no one having been hurled off a cliff, that friendship/relationship is golden.
Thankfully, Robin Hood and I reached the top without any hurling of bodies. I daresay we were even smiling. We devoured a delicious lunch (a burger for him, a turkey sandwich for me, paired with arguably the best coleslaw ever), bought our tram tickets, and rode in ease back down the mountain.
I wish I could tell you that the hike on the connector trail, back towards our car, was a delightful lark. I wish I could tell you that. We were no longer in shade. It was the middle of the afternoon. True, we had plenty of water, but I’m pretty sure I was on the brink of hallucinations, and I’m also pretty sure that Robin Hood nearly threw a cactus at me when I tried to lighten the mood with some [slightly off-key] singing.
But we did it. We made it back to the car. We were smiling. We still liked each other. I even want to do it again some day.
After all, he is an awfully good lookout during a trailside pit stop.