Monday, October 3, 2011

Butterfly trail #16

I guess that some of you guessed that this hike would be with someone special. Well, you were right. I had been seeing Colomriqueño (he is half Colombian-half Puerto Rican) for a couple of weeks and it was time to take him up to the mountain.

I pretty much decided for the both of us to take on Butterfly trail #16. I had read about it and wanted to try it. The page I use to log my hikes had amazing reviews for the trail and they did say that it was a hard climb in one direction. So, given the wimp climber I am, I thought that if we did it in the opposite direction it wouldn't be so bad, flawless logic right? wrong! Look at the picture on the left, that's the profile of the trail. It climbs down for about a mile and a half and then there's 2.7 miles up. The vertical change in those 2.7 miles is over 2 miles so you can guess how steep that was. Because of the climb people in HikeAZ recommended to shuttle 2 cars to do this trail. Meaning, leaving one car at the end of the trail (mine) and taking the other one to the trailhead (Colomriqueño's).

We started hiking at 10:30am. The first half was pretty awesome. So green, luscious and there were wildflowers and wildberries everywhere. I actually don't know if you can eat those and I didn't want to risk it. We came to a little spring, called Novio spring (btw novio means boyfriend in Spanish :-P). It didn't have much water but it had a good cliff to have lunch. I lost a bagel to the mountain for moving too fast, it fell of the cliff, I hope the fungi-eater beetles enjoy it. After our lunch we kept going and started climbing up and up and up. My heart started racing, I got out of breath and had to stop several times. It was pretty embarrassing given that it was the first time I hiked with Colomriqueño, I should have suggested an easy hike so he wouldn't see me like that. He was a trooper though, always checking on me and being patient when I had to stop and sit down because I was about to pass out. After half an hour we came to a sign marking where the trail divides to other trails, I took out my map to check where we were and I was not sure! Colomriqueño captured the precise moment when I was thinking we were lost. We looked at the map and figure out the way...up.

Colomriqueño is in much better shape than I am so he had no problem with the climb or the distance. My legs started giving up about a mile and a half from the end, it was painful and I was going very very slow. Around that time Colomriqueño asked me if I had the keys to my car in my backpack. I froze and realized that my brilliant idea of the 2 cars had just come crashing down on me. No, I didn't have the keys with me, I left them in his car, over 3 miles up the mountain. I had to sit down for a minute battling the urge to cry, I felt so stupid. Colomriqueño got a little bit upset (rightfully so) but calmed me down and said we would hitchhike a ride up the mountain to get his car and that we had to keep moving because there were clouds moving in and neither of us had rain gear (also thunderstorms up the mountain are very dangerous). He was right, I just had to shake it off and keep going. I knew from my research on the trail that we had to come to the summit of Mt Bigelow so when we got to a sign pointing towards it I thought that was the logic way to go. At that point a light rain had started falling so we had to hurry. After 200ft or so Colomriqueño realized that we had taken a wrong turn so we went back to the sign and figure out he was right. We found the right trail and went down to the road, right in front of a Ranger's Visitors Center. Colomriqueño ran down when he saw a couple of vans were about to leave the Visitors Center, it was our chance to get a ride. I tried following him fast and fell flat on my ass, jajajajajaja. I'm ok, it didn't hurt, I was going down on a steep slope so I wasn't too far from the ground anyway.

Colomriqueño talked to the people in the van and explained our dilemma. The driver was very nice and agreed to take us. It turned out she was transporting mentally-ill people so we had to ride on the back of the van. She apologized a lot for it but we really didn't care, all we wanted was to get the car not having to walk 3 miles up the mountain, after a hard hike, while it was raining. We finally made it up there and got the car. He dropped me off at my car and we drove down the mountain in between patches of really heavy rain. We were very lucky not to get caught in those while we were hiking.

So, even after I got us to hike a really hard trail, lost us a couple of times, forgot the keys to the shuttle car and got us to ride in the back of a van full of crazies Colomriqueño said he had not had such a good hike in a long time. Isn't he awesome? Oh yeah, he is cute too...

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