Friday, August 17, 2012

In Which Rangers are Sent to Find Me on the Mountain

Babycakes has been taking on the official role of Trip Planner since we arrived in New Mexico (perhaps due to my major mess up at the onset as Transportation Planner). Included in his must do's was a trip to Bandelier National Monument, with him assuring me there were plenty of shorter 'pregnant lady approved' hikes.

Admittedly I was a bit nervous to be heading off on a mountainous hike. Just walking around downtown Santa Fe was proving difficult at times, due to super fun ligament pain & just overall feeling more and more slow (so much so that BC has nicknamed my new gait the "pregnant lady shuffle"). I also wondered how I would manage my frequent needs for the restroom along with the heat & the high altitudes.

After a 30 minute drive and 20 minute shuttle ride into the park, we were off. To our right a wall of mountainous rock soared above us- speckled with multiple cave openings that ancient tribes used to call home:

There was a fork in the path, and going to the right led to a long, steep stairway that took hikers up to explore these cave dwellings. BC was very intrigued, and I encouraged him to go ahead and scale the stairs to take a peek. We agreed I would continue on at my turtle pace while he took a quick detour to the caves before catching back up with me.

About 100 feet further from were we separated there was a another short offshoot to the right. This one had a very gentle, easy climb leading to this:

I very much wanted to peek inside one of the cave homes too- and this meandering path definitely looked manageable. I figured I would head up and take a quick look, all the while keeping watch over the path below for BC.

I climbed into the cave and relished the cooler temperatures. I took the opportunity to sit down inside and peer out the opening, hoping to see BC come around the bend below so I could summon him to this space.

A few groups of hikers came and went, with no sign of BC. I climbed back down & leaned against the rock below- assuming BC would be coming by any time. I did get a few odd glances from the groups passing by- likely wondering what this pregnant lady was doing just hanging out against the mountain.

After another 5 minutes with no sign of BC, I figured his hike detour was taking longer than anticipated and decided to just go ahead on my own, hoping he would still catch up to me. I had a brief moment of panic when I realized he had the backpack with my hat, food, phone, etc- but thankfully I did have a water bottle, and knew the hike was only about another 1.5 miles. Praying to my Ligament Gods to hang in there, I made the conscious decision to just enjoy the walk, the quiet, & the scenery.

As I made my way along the path several groups passed me by with no sign of BC. I knew we'd meet up no matter what back at the Visitor's Center, so wasn't really concerned, and hoped BC was also enjoying his hike.

When I finally emerged from the path I saw BC ahead of me, pacing back and forth. He ran up to me exclaiming "you're OK!" and hugged me close. Uh-oh.

It seems he had quickly finished his cave detour and hurried along the path, thinking he would intercept me. As he got further along with no signs of me anywhere, he had begun to panic, worrying that I was in pain somewhere, stranded, unable to move, with no one to help me. When he had arrived at the Visitor's Center he had frantically looked everywhere- bathrooms, snack bar, museum- and when it was clear I wasn't there, he'd alerted Park Rangers to head out searching for me. It didn't help that one Park Ranger said he remembered seeing me out on the path, leaning against the mountain, "looking a bit distressed." Thanks for freaking out my husband, Mr. Park Ranger. I was definitely not in distress as I leaned against that mountain- rather I was taking a break & stretching out my back while watching for BC.

I felt awful that BC had gone through that. Here I was, all blissed out from a nice hike in nature, while BC was panicked that something serious had happened to me. We tried to piece together how we possibly could have missed one another- and surmised the only possible way was that he had come up on the path at the precise moment I was taking MY detour (with my back to the main path)- or at the moment I was scaling the ladder up to the cave.

It took BC a little while to decompress, but in the end it is a pretty entertaining story. I am still glad I got to see one of the cave homes, and was proud of myself for making it through the hike. BC has been keeping me close in his sight ever since- and will likely think twice before taking me on any other nature adventures!

No comments:

Post a Comment