My first day in my first apartment, 2,000 miles away from my parents I met some guys. Yes, they were cute but no, I was not, so this is a story devoid of any romantic trysts. These boys (brothers) invited my roommate and I to go night hiking with them. As a real adult and not whatever I was back then, I realize that this is a red flag moment. This type of thing creates Amber Alerts. As an 18 year old being invited to go hiking by two twenty-something, cute brothers, this seemed like a good idea. Plus, I love hiking. My roommate, bless her, was the type who didn’t like to sweat so she declined. That should have stopped me, but it didn’t. They did inform me that there would be another girl going on the hike, and I later learned that she had just met them as well. So at least I wasn’t the only one without self preservation skills.
We were told that we would leave around 2 a.m. so that we could get to the summit of the mountain in time for the sunrise. We drove to their friend’s house to pick him up and then the five of us went to Wal-Mart for supplies (a.k.a. foods). Then we went to Wendy’s where one of the guys got chili. I at least knew that was a bad idea. We got to the mountain and I had to pee. There was this outhouse type thing, it was huge and I needed a flashlight just to find where I was supposed to sit. NOW – I used to watch X-files and there is an episode where a creature hangs out in the porta potty and then bites the person in the butt, injecting said person with its larve or something. Needless to say I’ve always had a fear of porta potties, so when the moment of truth came I couldn’t do. I decided to hold it.
Author’s Note: This hike was in Utah while I grew up in Virginia. The mountains aren’t as tall (some would call them hills) and the hikes don’t take as long. ‘Holding it’ seemed plausible to me.
So we started our hike in the dark. It was miserable, have you tried hiking with a full bladder? At one point we were walking through a valley and we stopped to rest on a rock. It was at this moment I thought there was no possible way I could continue. I had just driven three days across the country, I was not used to the higher elevation, I hadn’t slept since the night before, and my bladder was moments away from exploding and killing me. When my group prepared to go on, my stubborn side came out and I refused to continue with them. I told them I would stay there and they could get me on the way back. They agreed to this and left.
Within twenty minutes I realized how dumb that had been. I didn’t know how long it would take, I could die while they were gone, worse…I would be very, very bored. So, like the intelligent young woman I was, I got up, squared my shoulders and ventured after them.
Twenty minutes is a long time in the world of hiking. I couldn’t even see them, but the trail was well marked so I pressed onward and upward. That is, until I came to a switchback littered with mountain goats. It was at this moment I realized I didn’t know much about mountain goats. Were they aggressive? I think I had seen two fighting it out on TV once. I waited for them to move, but they seemed content where they stood. So I tried to climb up the land between the two parts of the trail, to bypass the goats if you will. But the land was gravely and I couldn’t get a much of a foothold. So I waited again. I was scared, I’ll admit it. Finally though, I realized I would need to go past them. I started slow, wondering if I should avoid eye contact, or make myself appear bigger, I wished I had learned what to do when faced with a mountain goat. In case you haven’t guessed, I survived. They moved to the side with some encouragement.
In fact, I really lucked out, I found my group at the summit, though we had experienced sunrise in the valley. We had several hours back down and my bladder held until we reached that same porta potty structure. It was a little less scary in the daylight. I made it home and promptly fell asleep for the rest of the day. I had a telephone conversation with my sister that I have no recollection of except that she wasn’t making sense and I was snippy with her. She still teases me about it to this day.
Pretty anticlimactic but that’s life sometimes.