I planned on accomplishing so much today. The day is almost over and here I sit. I still haven’t done what I had planned to do. Yesterday I had made all these elaborate plans to fill my day with exciting things. Sometime during my second cup of coffee this morning all those plans flew out the window. Actually, I think they walked out the door when I opened it to catch the early morning breeze. I didn’t catch the screen when it flopped open, and that’s when I think those plans escaped.
Here’s what happened. Once my day’s scheduled events were disrupted, then it became a free for all. The sun was just peaking above the horizon when I made a decision to not do what I was going to do and do what I finally did. I went hiking.
I know. You shouldn’t hike during the heat of the day. That’s why I was off the trail around noon. I don’t think it had even reached 100 by then. At that point, it was still a comfortable day.
Through the years I’ve been reading about what a great place Red Canyon is. I’ve even had people tell me that I should really visit. It would be something I would never forget. I made today that unforgettable day. It’s unforgettable not for what it is, but for what I expected it to be. And, it was unforgettable, not for the topography, but for the people. Sometimes expectations lead to letdowns. Today was one of those times.
I should have arrived with an open mind. I did not. I assumed that the visual experience would live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong. It is a beautiful area, not very far from Las Vegas. But, it does not approach the beauty of some of the places I’ve visited, and many of the places I’ve called home.
The problem lies with the fact that I’ve been to some magnificent places and hiked some great trails.: Big Bend NP, Bryce Canyon, Aquarius Plateau, Waimea Canyon, Kalalau Trail, The Tetons, Grand Canyon, the list goes one. When I arrived at the entrance gate this morning I was still expecting something more than what I found. I’m not saying that the trail I was on, Pine Creek Canyon Trail, was not a good trail. It just wasn’t what I was looking forward to.
Yes, my day will be unforgettable. Some of the people I encountered should not have left their motel. Oh, I take that back. They definitely should have left their motel, but they should not have been out in the middle of the desert, on an extremely warm day, attempting to walk the trails they were walking. Imagine this. Mr. and Mrs. Jones arrived last night from Anytown, USA for a week of fun in the sun. Last night was their first night in the City of Sin. They enjoyed themselves.
This morning at breakfast Mrs. Jones says to Mr. Jones, “Dear, we’re not going to spend the day in a casino. Let’s go see some of the surrounding area.”
Mr. Jones, who was thinking of nothing more than getting back to the Blackjack table, agreed with his wife. He figured he could get her out there in the sun for a couple of hours and she would want nothing more than to get back to the air conditioned comfort of the casino—the casino that was holding onto his money for him.
Well, this couple, had driven out to Red Canyon in their black air conditioned rental car, and were going to walk a couple of trails. They’re dressed in shorts, halter top (tank top for him), decent sneakers, and if they’re wearing any cap at all it’s a visor. Yes, they are ready for the desert. They start down the trail with about 64 ounces of Aquafina between them. Something they don’t realize is that they are doomed from the beginning.
The amount of alcohol they consumed last night, the caffeine this morning, combined with the sugar from breakfast, and the lack of adequate rest will all combine to create a condition that they will blame on jet lag, food poisoning, hangover, etc. Ladies and gentlemen, this man and woman is going to become dehydrated. Hell, they’re already halfway there. The depth of that condition will greatly depend on how soon they can get off the trail and out of the desert heat.
Enough about the unprepared hikers. I’ve seen enough in my travelings to know that these people exist everywhere, not just in the deserts around Las Vegas.
What I really set out to tell you is that I was planning on doing my grocery shopping this morning. I went hiking instead. I suppose I could do that much needed shopping this afternoon, but there is a book I want to finish reading and some music I must hear.
I’m out of Cheerios and down to my last can of beans. If I don’t go shopping tomorrow I may starve by Friday. As it is, I’m being forced to eat left over lasagna for dinner. If I had gone shopping like I had planned I most likely would be eating something other than refrigerator residents. I suppose I could drive down to the Chinese buffet. That sounds good, doesn’t it? That would mean that I would have to leave home again. I’ve already done that once today. And, I’d have to put on my shoes. That sounds like too much work.
As I finish off the fake Italian food I have prisoner in the Tupperware container on the second shelf of the refrigerator I will think about Mr. and Mrs. Jones. At other places, and other times, I’ve hiked with extra water. Today it didn’t cross my mind. It should have. Many people are unaware of the fact that an environment they are unfamiliar with can ruin their day. On my list for tomorrow’s shopping is now a case of water—not for me, but for the people I meet on the trail—the Mr. and Mrs. Jones’ of the world. I’m sure our paths will cross again. They haven’t let me down yet.
Today there were a couple of young men from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department walking one of the trails. It made me feel better. There’s someone out there looking out for those who have trouble looking out for themselves. One of the young men told me that yesterday they didn’t have any problems at all. He wasn’t so positive about today.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.