The idea was an amazing idea. It was magical, actually. For a short drive down the way and an easy morning hike, we'd be frolicking in woodland flowers and crystal waters for the day. It seemed worth it to us on our vacation at the cabin, and we packed our small bags and headed out.
That was us excited and happy to be spending the day together doing two things we love: hiking and adventuring. Did you also catch somewhere in the middle of all those pictures a particular sign? The one that said "4 miles" and "4 quarts of water recommended?" Yeah...about that. We took this picture and neglected those teensy little facts. On our little trek, we only packed two water bottles, sunscreen, cell phones, and my inhaler. We figured that would be enough for our "short" hike. The last time I had been to Fossil Springs, I was able to drive down to the springs and play in the waters to my heart's content. Apparently they closed off the road and now the only way to get there was to hike the four miles. But that didn't stop me. I run 3 miles a day, what's an extra mile, right? Wrong.
We started the hike giddy as school girls, and though we got tired throughout, we knew that was just a symptom of hiking. Until about 3 and a half miles in, when we reached the dry riverbed. I could have cried. I sat down on a rock, after all my hard work, and couldn't move. How could we have gone all this way just to find a dry riverbed! Why didn't anyone tell us on their way back up? Oh, and we had just run out of water. Fabulous.
After sitting down for a few minutes, two ladies and their dogs passed by and asked if we had any duct tape for their dog's paws. We told them no, and asked what happened to his paws. They informed us that the pup had cut his paws in the water on the jagged rocks of the river. It was like the skies had parted -- there was a river! We promptly picked up all our gear and trudged on, hoping to find the river within the next half an hour; and, oh, did we.
I really wish I would have taken more pictures, these two do not do it justice. It was like an oasis in the desert, it was such a relief when we finally reached the water and I dipped my tired toes into it's cool springs. The waterfall was like something out of a movie. It was magical.
There was still the problem of having no water left to hike another 4 miles up the trail. Part of the reason I didn't take more pictures was that I was so stressed out that we were going to drop dead of dehydration and heat stroke. We spent about 2 hours at the falls, then decided it was time to hike back to the Jeep before the storm came through. As we hiked, we discussed how exactly we were going to get the water, not to mention food, in order to have enough energy to make it.
A group in front of us stopped suddenly, and were talking about a spring that was high enough above the river to get water out of. Although it was high enough, the group was using chlorine and iodine tablets to purify their water. This made Kendall nervous, and he decided to keep looking for another area for water. I was TO'd, because I just freaking wanted water, whether it made me sick or not, but I followed him. I'm so glad we moved on. As we hiked up more, we came to a campsite. Kendall finally plucked up the courage to ask someone for a little bit of extra water. We asked the right person. He knew of a place just up the hike that had pure spring water, straight from the earth, no purification necessary.
It was the most delicious, magical, pure water. How amazing is Mother Earth? She sure saved our tushes. We sat drinking her water, Kendall even dunked his head in, for probably a half an hour before we could pull ourselves away to hike the rest of the way. Two women were sitting at the spring when we got there, and they just so happened to be Members too! They shared their food and some kind words before we headed off for the long trek to the Jeep.
The hike back up was brutal, but it was worth every minute. The experience made us so appreciative of each other, of the earth, and of the small blessings we receive everyday. Oh, and of not dying on our vacation weekend. That too. Not to mention the rain that fell on us as we reached the end of our hike, and the rainbow that towered over us like a gift for all that we had accomplished.
Kendall and I have always loved the show I Shouldn't Be Alive, but we never thought we'd come so close to being on it. I'm so grateful for that hike and for the lessons I learned; like reading signs and preparing for things so I don't die. So there you have it, the filling to our Oreo cookie of a cabin weekend.