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SHORT STORY


TITLE: Not A Day for Girl's Plumbing
By Marijo Phelps
07/26/10
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Hiking with my hubby, the tour Guide, should have some limits - winter blizzards perhaps?
It was Saturday, the day we almost always go for a hike no matter what season of the year it is. We drove to a spot we had hiked before over the dirt roads out to the middle of NO WHERE, parked the truck, got on layers and layers of green sweatshirts, balaclavas, gloves, walking sticks, packs. We slammed the doors to the very muddy truck and took off. Much of the snow had melted, the winds were busy evaporating off the rest.

Yes, it was windy. From my sailing says I would call these gale force winds. Not winds where you’d reef the jib, winds where you’d stay in the club house and have your picnic there if you were smart. But we were now in Colorado and my husband’s life motto was “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”.

We looked ahead, there was a herd of about 60 “girls”. The cow elk were very pregnant and soon it would be baby birthing season. They looked pretty dramatic on the top of the hill standing tall against the backdrop of brilliant blue skies, their darker chocolate neck and chest contrasting with their lighter bodies. I made a couple of “cow calls” which made them stop to look before going back the way they had come. Those frigid winds were blowing our scent directly to the ladies, and they were smart and left, after I snapped their photo.

Boy the winds were fierce but they were blowing us along and actually helping our hike. We figured by the time we came back they would have slowed down and we weren’t too concerned.

Somewhere in there I noticed Mick was relieving himself and I was thinking, I can wait, it is way too cold to drop and squat. I really am not that desperate.

We were headed to a wonderful rock outcropping that had several caves in it. Last time we were here there was way more snow than we expected and out feet were wet as we sloshed through the snowy fields towards the rocks. There was no wind that day either.

Man, that wind was so cold that I put my hand up to shield my eyes from the freeze on the windward eye. I had visions of my eyeball freezing and was thinking about the marbles we’d played with as kids.

By now Mick had relieved himself about 5 times and I was still mentally crossing my legs. “Honey, this rock is big enough so you might have shelter if you need to go.”

“Nah, just the thought of squatting and turning my cheeks into ice blocks is enough to convince me I can wait a little longer.”
I was between those rocks and they were acting like a funnel for that wind. This was a first for me but I really could and would wait a bit longer.

“Hey, you brought your book didn’t you? I think I am going to explore those caves.”

“Watch out for mama bear, ‘tis the season and she probably wouldn’t be very happy to see you with the cubs she has….”

“Yah, I will look for footprints before I stick my nose in any cave.”

I was wondering what good that would do if she hadn’t “un-hybernated” yet, but didn’t say anything.

I sat on the rocks trying to turn a way that the wind wasn’t hitting me. The best it got was freezing my knees, yep, my crossed knees. The rest of me was fairly out of the wind in this position. I could read my book but it might end up in Kansas really fast so I shut my eyes and rested.

Not sure how long it had been but I decided to get up and see if I could spot my hubby. I walked a bit away from the “sheltering” rocks. Yes, they had helped because out in the open it was totally bitterly cold. The wind had actually picked up rather than settling down.

I saw Mick blowing towards me. “Hey, maybe I will not go to the plateau today but we could go over that way and head back to the truck” His arm sweeping in the direction he was indicating.

We hike every week and some of the sweetest words I ever hear coming out of Mick’s mouth are “back to the truck”. This particular hike was a 5 miler and with those winds we shouldn’t have been out at all. I am a pretty good sport but there are limits.

I couldn’t believe it, there he was peeing again, my Mick, who is usually like a cactus. DRY.
About then I was “wishing and hoping and thinking and praying” trying to figure out how I could keep my legs crossed the 2.5 miles back to the truck.
He pointed me in the shorter direction and he went a bit different route to “explore”.

I got to a place where there was some snow cover. Not much, just enough so that when you broke through it threw you off. Then I broke through up to my knees. Yes, I know the tricks about looking for the areas with weeds sticking up because it wasn’t so deep and I was doing that. Never mind that it wasn’t always possible. I was staggering, blowing and trying to hold my hand up on the windward side which means holding the hiking stick in the left hand. Next thing I know I am on my knees. It was seeming like a good place to stay for a time until I realized they’d get wet and then be even colder.

I looked back over my shoulder and saw Mick “Are you OK? You were staggering and stumbling all over the place back there? Maybe you could pee down in the valley of this hill? Boy, my legs hurt and I’m tired, how about you?”

We have been married close to 25 years and maybe I have heard him say he was tired once before this. Now I don’t feel so bad about feeling so bad. Maybe that was his intent.

“We’re getting closer to the truck, Jo.”

I hope so, would die if we were getting farther away. He is the one with the built in direction finder. I never got one, was probably in the bathroom when they were being passed out…..oh, no, he was relieving himself AGAIN.

“I have never seen you pee so much on a hike, what’s up?”

“Must have been all that coffee….”

I will let you fill in the blanks as to what I was thinking but about that time I caught sight of the truck. It was tiny but at least I could see it. We were coming back a different way but there was hope! Food was there and I could finally take care of business knowing we could turn the heater on and get thawed out. It was after 2PM and we hadn’t taken any cheese sticks in our packs and breakfast had been a long ways back. Growl. I was thankful my tummy was the only growling I heard, could have been mama bear.

In climbing that very last fence a terrible thought occurred to me, what if it wasn’t our truck? Tomorrow is Easter and I will be safely in church while Mick is out hiking again.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
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