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(Not) The Garden Center, The End

Two cliff hangers in one week? (If you can even call them that.)
(Not) The Garden Center
(Not) The Garden Center, 2

By the time we made it back to the car, we actually felt pretty good.  For the last ninety minutes of our trek we walked  a wide trail in beautiful country. When we got home there was still plenty of afternoon left to go to the Garden Center or putter around on the balcony for awhile, but we were so exhausted, we fell asleep on the sofa in our hiking clothes. Except I didn’t sleep. Mike slept and I sat there making lists in my head until I thought I might explode. Then I got up and started chores.

We had wanted to hike San Jisento this weekend, but Mike’s been asked to pick up some extra shifts at work. And it’s ok, because I don’t think I’m ready for a ten-hour day and a thirty-pound pack. However, I am kind of excited to train this weekend.  Even if it’s only a six hour walk, even if it’s mostly uphill, even if there are bees and sweat and stickers. I just don’t want to have to use my trekking poles to hold foliage away from my face. Is that too much to ask?

wild flowers

I took this photo of wild flowers at least two hours before the business with the stickery waist-high weeds. There were no photos taken of the stickery weeds. Misery is not conducive to flora appreciation.

(Not) The Garden Center, 2

Picking up from where I left off yesterday…

We turned around and started trekking back through the waist-high thorny weeds towards home. And then I started crying. Really quietly, because I didn’t want him to know I was crying. After all, what kind of wimp starts crying because of some thorny weeds? This kind of wimp, apparently.

I trekked along, quietly crying, a litany of reasons why I’m horrible and hiking is horrible and all of this is horribly running on a loop through my head when suddenly the stickers poking into my socks, tag-alongs (care of the weeds) I’d been collecting for the last hour, became intolerable. I stopped, trekking poles tucked under one arm, right foot propped on left knee yoga-style, lost my balance. Squatted slightly and started picking at the stickers that stabbed at my ankles. But they were horrible things, twisted and curled through the sock, through the silk sock-liner, scratching into my bare skin. And then I noticed that the tongue of my boot formed a cup against my foot and that cup was brimming with weedy stickery things so I tried to pick them out but then I thought, what if there is a bug in there? Or a spider? Or a tick? WHAT IF THERE IS A TICK?

And then I really started crying. By now Mike was a few hundred feet away (I have no idea how many feet. Maybe it was forty, I have no concept of distance) and so I had to call attention to my plight by shouting, “I need to stop! I have to take my shoes off!” Mike stopped and turned, stunned I was so far behind him. I stared at the ground, tears dripping off the end of my nose while I grit my teeth and tried to stop f***ing crying.

When he got to me I was a snotty, sweaty, blubbering mess. You think you know ugly crying? You have never seen ugly crying.

“I f***ing hate this! I f***ing hate this! This is horrible! Why do people do this?!?”
“Ok, can I help you take your shoes off? There you go. I’ll pick the stickers out of your shoe while you do your sock.”
(Sniffling) “Thank you. This is horrible. I hate this. You married the wrong girl if you wanted someone you could do this with.”
“That’s ridiculous. Just stop.”
We were both quiet for a minute. We picked the stickers out of my footwear.
“What do you hate?” he asked.
“This! It’s horrible! The weeds and the foliage in my face and bugs smacking into my head. It’s horrible!”
“This has sucked. This is not what Bolivia is going to be like.”
“YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT BOLIVIA IS GOING TO BE LIKE. YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TO BOLIVIA.”
“We’re going to the highlands. This is not the highlands. This is the valley.”
He looked at me. I swiped at my tears and sniffled. “You don’t know.”
“We’re going to be hiking Inca roads, not fields of weeds.”
“But I don’t want to spend every weekend for the next two months doing this.”
“We don’t have to.”
“But we have to train!”
“We have to train, but we don’t have to do this ever again. This was a bad hike.”
“But I hate it!”
He heaved a sigh, but even I was getting tired.
“If you hate it next weekend, you don’t have to go. Ok? Honestly. I thought you would enjoy this but if you really don’t enjoy it you have a free pass to stay home. No hard feelings.”
“Really?”
“Of course! There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something that makes you miserable. You wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors. But, I don’t think you’ll hate it. I just think this was a bad hike. How are your feet?”
“Good. Thanks for helping me pick the stickers out.”
“Anytime.”

I don’t know why on earth he puts up with me, but I’m super glad he does. It helps that he has magical skillz when it comes to talking me off ledges. It is one of the reasons I married him. That and he’s really handsome. But I digress.

But wait! There’s more! (For tomorrow…)