Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Beautiful American Southwest

I took my climbing buddy Francois on an American Southwest tour this last week.  He'd decided to come out for a visit from Montreal after seeing all my recent pictures of the area - not to mention it probably sounded nice with the weather in Montreal being pretty cold right now.

The places we visited were beautiful, of course!  The weather was pretty perfect - typical October.  Not too hot, sometimes chilly at night.  But overall mellow temps.  I'm not going to write a daily list of happenings like I've been the last few trips because that's getting boring even to me.  But I will include a few highlights and "Francois-isms."

Zion - great to drive through up high.  Saw some bighorn sheep crossing the road on the drive!  Trails down in the canyon were a little disappointing.  Whatever you do, don't bother with the Emerald Pools hike.  I need to explore the real trails of this park sometime.

Grand Staircase-Escalante - just had to stop here to see some slot canyons.  Never fails to disappoint.

Valley of the Gods - I could never drive thru this area and not take the scenic detour through here.  It's just gorgeous.

Arches - did a few short hikes here.  It's amazing to me how a few short hikes can fill up your day and make you tired enough to enjoy a big fat delicious bacon cheeseburger at Milt's in Moab afterwards!!  Never never never NOT stop at Milts if you're in Moab.
A camping note - when all the sites along the Colorado River are full, drive into the La Sal mountains.  It was dark when we drove up here - a little worried about not finding a spot, then I saw a bunch of cars on a short dirt road - I pull in.  It's a climbers campground!  I can never believe my luck sometimes.  Met a couple really cool people there of course.

Canyonlands (Needles district) - here is where the real hiking began.  But first we drove down a dirt road to find a campsite (really we were looking for a real campground, but my directions were wrong) - anyone who knows me knows once I find a dirt road that seems deserted, I really really want to see whats at the end of the road.  Along the drive, the first Francois-ism "Faye... I don't think this is a road.  It seems to have turned into a trail. .... Faye.  Really, this can't be a road..."   But we're in the indestructible Toyota Tacoma - so what could go wrong?!  So we continued.  No matter that I haven't been able to find a used spare wheel for the truck...
For our hike (which happened to be my birthday - cannnot think of a better way to spend my bday), I chose Druid Arch, with a detour thru Chestler Park.  This is one of my all time favorite top 5 hikes.  It's so much dang fun hiking thru the wash.  And even more fun to hike into Chestler Park from the wash closest to the Arch.  I'm being lazy and not looking at my map to get the names for you.  It's a lot of scrambling up rocky gullies, slabs, steep drops, etc etc.  And the next Francois-ism: After I scrambled up a particularly steep slab with a steep drop off from the slanty "trail" just before it, I turned back to see how he was doing - he comes around the corner, sees the route, and "Oh SURE!  What's next??  Sasquatch standing up on the ledge throwing rocks down at me???"
I really wish I had that on video.  Classic.
After the hike, we camped near hamburger rock (but in the free forest service land area) - I'd been sleeping outside under the stars this week.  When I woke up I found coyote tracks around my sleeping bag.  Yikes!  I can't believe I slept thru a sniffing coyote!!

Grand Canyon - Decided on the Kaibab trail down from the south rim, to the river, and back up the Bright Angel trail.  The weather was a nice 80+ degrees at Phantom Ranch - which probably felt like 90+ to most normal humans.  And it's just not an easy hike.  At some point, Francois sits on a rock, dripping sweat, and tells me, "If this is the test you give to your potential boyfriends, you're going to have a hard time finding one, and keeping him alive."

Well thats about it - after all that we stopped in Kingman and went to my favorite bbq joint down the street.

Next up - road trip to Washington!

Pics from Francois:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Arizona's Bigfoot, the Mogollon Monster, Lives

In an attempt to ruin myself again, an attempt on the inaugural event, I thought I'd give the Mogollon Monster 100 a shot. Which is already leading innocent runners to the wrong idea, its actually 106 miles, 20,000 ft of elevation gain, a 36 hour cutoff, and a promise that its going to be one of the toughest "100" milers out there. 

I have no doubt. And I also have my doubts. 

Day 1.  I left D-BO, the Kingman house, Saturday afternoon, and barely made it to the running shop in flagstaff by closing time to pick up some gu's. There were a couple other sporting shops I had in mind in case I didn't make it, but there was something else I what was that.... Something important... OH look!  A book store! I can pick up a copy of Marathon and Beyond! Someone told me there's an article about Across the Years and a pic of me in there. I'll go grab that real quick. 

Got it!  Cool. Don't see the article in there. Hmmm. Oh well. Good reading material. 

I make it to the mogollon rim, in the dark, and drive down Milk Ranch Road off Rim Road and there are a gazillion giant rv's and horse trailers and orv's and families sitting around giant camp fires. I'm slightly jealous.  I drive on by looking for an empty spot off the road, spy an obscure rocky road and take it to the end. Perfect. I see nobody. A couple hours later while I'm eating the acorn squash I'd baked at home and sipping on wine, I hear a gun shot...WTF?!  Is some drunk redneck shooting at bigfoot??  I don't know but its got me freaked out now. Which also makes all the other sounds around me extra spooky. Great - a not so great night sleep ensues, with visions of being dragged out of the bed of my truck by my feet to be mauled by bigfoot, dancing in my head. 

Wake up the next morning - get a chance to walk around and look at my surroundings.  Not so spooky in the daylight!  Funny how only seeing something at night makes it more spooky. 
Start making some coffee...Sunuva.... THAT'S what I needed.... Propane!  Got just enuf to make coffee, thank goodness I have a backup bp stove with me!  

Later, As I'm digging a hole for my morning duty (one with a view off the rim of course) I see a sign on a tree.  Hmm, must check that out when I'm done. A few minutes later I'm tromping thru the forest towards the tree with the sign. It says, "in memory of John or Tom something".  Oh crap, its a grave?  Nice. No wonder I felt spooked.  It wasn't just the coyotes wailing all dang night.  Oh wait, there they go again.  Time for me to get outta here me thinks!!  Clouds roll in, I pack up and am in the truck just in time for some sprinkles.  

Looking at the course map & info for the race, I decided to check out the other end of the course, meanwhile getting a chance to see the parts that will run over the rim road too.  I finally get to Myrtle Trail.  It's a mile and a thousand feet down and it takes me 30 minutes.  Wow. The RD says he marked the course well. That is indisputable. What may be disputed is the fact that someone calls this a trail. If it weren't for the ribbon course markers I'd never know there was a trail here.  It's steep as hell, covered with tall grass, with rocks and holes underneath. Take a step and hope for the best!  For the race, we'll have to come up this. 

Make my way down to the Highline Trail, run along that for awhile, turn around at a creek after about an hour and return. Back on Myrtle trail and now travelling in the direction of the race, I can honestly say, HOLY SHIT.  We gotta come up this MF'er??  My god.... Ok, so its only a mile, but its gonna hurt at mile 55 or so.  

I found a free campground to stay in tonight. For dinner, made a chopped up sweet potato (baked at home w that squash), boiled in coconut milk, plus some spices.  Yum!!!   Even better while listening to ultrarunner podcasts!  It was raining when I got here so I waited to cook, and its nice & clear now. Hope it stays that way. And hope I get more sleep than I did last night.  

Day 3.  Funny how I seemed to have slept more that first night than last night, in a seemingly safe place, I layed awake for a couple hours at a time. What else is new.

After fiddling with my camelbak hose for almost an hour this morning (which resulted in a stick and 2 chopsticks getting stuck and broken inside the hose, and it getting cut it half), I picked the cabin loops section of the course to explore today. Mostly because there is mention of Dane Spring with good delicious water, that if I can find I can fill up my jugs and not have to drive to town first thing tomorrow.  So off I go, and find the road I can drive to the spring. 
But after a futile 2 hours of tromping and trapsing around in the forest, I still can't find it.  Of course, that's just made me more annoyed that I couldn't find it, so I decide ill find it via trail and figure out how to get to a road from there (kinda like reverse engineering).  I follow the easy directions from the race course description and find the spring via trail. But WOW the trail is so incredibly nice and runnable I can't help but keep on running. Knowing I need to be taking it ez this week, 
I go back after another mile or so, spy a trail going off in another direction and follow it a short quarter mile to the exact area I had been parked in earlier.  Figures.  Ok well at least I know where it is from the parking area. I fill my camelbak and my bottles and run back. Damn this camelbak is heavy with 2 liters of water!!  How the hell do I run with this thing??  I need to rethink that.  

Back at the truck, I drive back to where I had been searching, this time finding that darn little trail and lug two gallon jugs down there and back up the steep little quarter mile hill to get water.  Ahhhh now I can relax. 
Drive back out then down another dirt road to find pinchot cabin (which, of course, I don't find) and a place to camp for the night near the trails ill check out tomorrow. 

Leftover dinner from last night, last of the wine, and some cheese and crackers, and an ultrarunner podcast and all is again well in the world. 

Oh yeah, near the trail for the spring I came across some flowers and what could be a tin of ashes or something, with the name "Zane" in the cement in the top of the can, and the years 1954-2008.  Hmm, zane...zane grey trail.. ill have to look that up. I almost camped near there till I saw that. I've had enuf of spooky spots for the week.  I did, however, pay a little respect and asked Zane for some luck finishing this race.  Hope he helps me out!

Day 4.  Found pinchot cabin while walking around the course trails this morning!  
Back in the free campground on the rim road. Where I really wanted to be is what looked like a campground near a hot spring, about 20 miles from here, but alas it was not meant to be that I be clean and good smelling.  I drove to Strawberry, picked up some salad and tomatoes, (been craving that and avocados), and propane!, turned off on my road to the hot springs, see a sign that says the road is closed ahead, ignore it like I do most signs, see another sign for goat cheese and goat milk fudge up ahead, decide not to ignore that sign, stop and get some delicious goat cheese and fudge, ask them if the road is really closed, and yes... It is washed out ahead. Instead of ignoring that advice like I normally would if it was from an actual adult, I choose to believe them because they are young girls who were also trying to get down there earlier.  Ok, plan foiled. No plan B (there IS no plan B!) so I drive to Pine to scout it out, make a couple phone calls (I haven't talked to another human in too long), get a hold of Miki, talk her ear off until she has to go, then head back to the Mogollon Rim.  Sit around trying to figure out logistics for the race, as in, where do I want my drop bags, what'll be in them, where to use poles, water bottles vs camelbak, etc. and just stare at the course maps in general (this proves invaluable later during the race).  Made some tuna salad.  Be cool if there was someone to share this cheese with!  My god its delish!!  

There's some very weird sound going on around here, I think its the hunters with some horrible sounding call, but then I saw the female elk headed right for it.  No gunshots, they are so close to this campground.  Hope they realize where they are.  Unless it really is an elk calling for his mate. But no, its been going on way too long.  Strange. 

Looks like the moon is going to be spectacular for the race! 

Day 5.  It's getting a little crowded here at my free campsite, there are now 2 more people here.  Sheesh. 
Aside from my new friend, elk hunter old man Monte. Last night he lit a campfire, which in my book is an invite. So I went over there and, like me right now, he was more than happy to have someone to talk to.  He's hunting elk with a bow & arrow.  And if he gets one I asked if he'd cook any up tonight, inviting myself over in the process by mentioning how I've never had elk meat before.  I got my fingers crossed.  Trying not to make dinner too early just in case. 

But I digress. It's been a relaxing day, I drove to a little hidden spot at a creek that old man Monte told me about, to wash up a little.  It was pretty cloudy water, I'm so spoiled by the sierra.  Then I drove to potato lake, sat my chair up there and read and had lunch.  It was nice.  
Oh those strange noises I heard last night, those were elk!!  Omg they were right here!!  Also I was woken up by a howling coyote followed by the yipping of the rest of the pack.  Just here next to my truck.  Are no animals afraid of me?!!  Come on!  Ok well we're even, since they've been around this rim the last 5 days so much, I barely cracked my eyes open then fell back asleep.  

Ok hoping to add an entry later, telling you how great elk meat is....

Day 6?  Have I been out here 6 days? Time flies.... Actually I'm pretty excited to get to go talk to a bunch of runners today.  Happens that Judith and Julian and a few friends are flying into phoenix and may drive by this way on their way to the grand canyon, so maybe ill see them at That Brewery in pine.  Dennis and Texas john are flying today too.  

No elk meat for me. Although 2 girls, who are a couple, are camped nearby.  They asked old man Monte about hiking trails, and be sent them to me. After I talked to her, found out she's from SF, I was thinking, poor Monte probably thinks Arizona is getting overrun by camping lesbians.  

Gonna head out of the wilderness soon. Maybe ill write more later. I can't believe the race starts tomorrow.  

Holy Moley!!  How do I describe this - rocky, rocky rocky rocky.  More rocks.  Loose rocks that slide and don't catch on anything, like baby skull size marbles rolling under your feet.  I don't know how I didn't bust open my water bottles I was holding, I landed on them so many times.. Grass - tall grass - that covers holes and rocks - which you slam your toes into, or hyperextend your knee as you step down into a hole.  Thats in the canyon.  Then there's the trails up top, on the rim, that were absolutely gorgeous. I ran those trails at night.  I've never been able to run so much at night before.  I loved that part.  

Well I was cut off at mile 65.  There was no point in going on - I would never have made any other cut offs, the course sweep was in front of me by 30 minutes, removing the trail markers, and my toe is about to explode inside my shoe.  Not to mention, in a month I'll be running Carkeek 12 hour run with a friend, so it doesn't bother me too much to stop now and preserve some body with no injuries for that. 
This race was an adventure - any inaugural race is.  The race director did a whole lot right for sure - and he'll probably take some feedback from the runners and make it even better next year.  Met a whole lot of great people - as usual, ultra runners usually are.  Nine people finished the race, the rest of us (40 starters) dnf'd for various reasons.  Certainly not complainin!  It was fun.  


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

back in the desert - I learned a new word: glochids

Back in the desert...

 After working on weeding some of my "rock" yard, i.e., getting a rash on my arms and bleeding from being impaled by goat heads, cactus spines, and anything else that looks nice but is actually full of spikes, I decided to go for a run.
 On my run, I noticed that, aside from there being a fantastically beautiful carpeting of tiny wildflowers covering the desert floor, the prickly pear fruit look super vibrant. So when one of my water bottles ran out of water, I loaded it with some fruit. In the process, I discovered tiny hairlike spines that cover the fruit, ones that you can't see until you grab something and realize there are spikes in your hand. Now I know their name...

 I got home, looked it up on youtube to see how to peel & eat them and also, step two on wikiHow:

"....The pads not only have large spines, but there are also tiny, invisible and far more irritating spines called glochids that are extremely difficult to remove from the skin. The spines and glochids can also be removed from the prickly pear pads by burning them off with a small torch or by placing the pad on a gas burner and turning it with tongs. See Warnings."

 Duly Noted.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson about sharp objects in the desert by now.  Anyway, they're tasty, but the seeds inside are like little rocks. And it's loaded with them, the whole damn fruit. And now I'm afraid to drink out of my water bottle cuz I'm afraid that somehow those tiny hairy spikes are going to be in there forever and they for sure will get stuck in my esophagus somehow.

 Does everything have to be evil in the desert?!!!!! :-P

Sunday, September 16, 2012

a few days in the life of an unemployed runner

A typical few days of what I do when I'm travelling around.
(I wrote these on my phone while out there - I started off caring about grammar, but that didn't last. )

Day 1:  visit Brandy in Mariposa. Got completely inspired by how strong she has become after being nearly killed by a man. Find kick ass campsites in Briceburg. 30 minute run on a single track trail along the Merced river. Listen to ultrarunning podcasts, fall asleep outside under the stars (on top of the picnic table, lately one of my favorite places to sleep). Kava root induced dreams ensue. 

Day 2: drive into Yosemite, get a campsite at porcupine flat. Day dream until after lunch, drive to sunrise trailhead, the view of tenaya lake never fails to put a smile on my face. Run to clouds rest (10,000') the run takes me about 4 hours for 15 miles. I'm ok with that. Meet more people from other countries than the US.  Afterwards, stop at tenaya lake to wash off my beloved yosemite dirt. Back to campsite. Dinner. Realize I left my tent poles in gilroy.  Gilroy #$@*&**!!  I have a tarp tent, sets us with a trekking pole. All is well in the world.  More ultra runner podcasts.  Think to myself, this is a perfect day. It is a perfect day!  Would be even better to get to share this tho. 

Day 3: here I sit in upper pines campground off rock creek road (9000', south of Mammoth) eating potato, onion, garlic, mushrooms sauteed with salmon and topped with avocado. Perfect pre long run meal. And wow, so good when you're camping.  Against my better judgement I am paying $20 for this site, but its the closest site to the trailhead I want to run on tomorrow that isn't overrun with rv's.  Last night was rough, so many loud rude people in yosemites campground. Hardly slept. But I made up for it by sleeping in a little, stopping in lee vining to get some fresh food for my dinner tonight, and what day would be complete without a visit to my favorite hot spring?!  Someone even shared their beer with me.  
It's gonna be cold tonight! I'm excited for dylans run sat - his first 100 miler. I won't have a chance to talk to him before his race.  Lots of good mojo, vibes, and prayers to him for the next couple days. 
Note to self... Todays podcasts I'm listening to is with Gordy. Potatoes and watermelon are the best glucose and fastest to get into your system when you're bonking. Figures! 

Hey, its been another perfectly sweet day, topped off with some nice pink clouds for sunset. And another night falling asleep staring at the stars. This time just on top of my tarp. (the picnic table was too full of food)

Day 4: woke up to a partially frozen waterbottle and my first thought is, wow, my sleeping bag and bivy are so cozy I was never cold even sleeping in a tank top! Made coffee, froze my fingers while cleaning out the pot (instant ice freezing onto anything I rinse). I'm not looking forward to putting on my skirt for my run.  

How does 12,000' sound for breakfast?!!! And then again for dinner?? Well yeah, that was my day.  It's a rich woman's life! 

Ok, so somehow I made it up my 2,000 ft climb in 1.5 hours. That's Mono pass at about 12k'. Felt great! Passed a mule train and he did not like that at all.  I had to ask to pass, and he said I better be able to keep up that pace cuz he didn't want to have to pass me. Haha I took that as a challenge and it just made me move faster. At the top of the pass I took off running and didn't see him again till on was on my way back after a side visit to Fourth Recess Lake, and he was still behind me, and never caught up again. That was on my 2nd crossing of Mono pass. I felt better than on my shorter run up to clouds rest. It's a good feeling and confidence boost for my upcoming race, MM100.  Then when I put it in perspective I gotta remember I'm still going slower than I want to be for the race. I just hope those trails are more runnable.  Still, 8 hours of being on the trail was good for my feet (ok, I sat around at a pretty lake in pioneer basin for about a half hour). 

For the record, 4th recess is divine. And pioneer basin is just incredible. Great backpacking spots. And the guy, Bob, who was shortcutting the trail to keep getting in front of me then make me wait to pass him.... Nice try asshole.  Or the dude at the hotspring whose reason for me being perfect for him includes that I'm young enough.... Where the hell do these old assholes get off thinking that someone 20 years younger than them would even be interested??  Gross. 
ok, short rant done.

After my run, drive to another favorite place in the world - Alabama Hills near lone pine - to sleep.  And another night under the stars, to boot. Coyotes howling off the in the not so distance.  A mouse (or maybe it was the wind) ran onto my tarp and scared the hell out of me.  I wonder if anyone heard me yelp. 

Day 5: drive back to kingman AZ.  The usual weeds need to be pulled, only a few roaches had a party in the garage, the electrical box outside has been destroyed, I have NO mail in my mailbox, and there are no leaks in the roof (yay!).  I decide to skip most of the unpacking, and sleep IN MY OWN BED like a rock all night.  

Day 6: wake up and start unpacking.  Football game at 10 that I want to watch.  (oh yeah.. .it's sunday!)  I start to think about NOT unpacking since I'll be heading to Pine AZ in a week to camp & run on the Mogollon Ridge, hoping to find the mogollon monster while out there.  There just happens to be this race out there.... I'm betting that after 106 miles and 20,000ft of elevation gain, I WILL see that Monster! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

life in the eye of a tornado

Do you believe in soul mates?

Have you ever felt so bonded to people in such a short amount of time that, after they've driven off, you suddenly feel very lonely for the first time in a very long time?

Or are you just so damn tired, and the people that are with you suddenly become so important to you that it seems like you can't live without them and you'd drop everything to have the chance to be with them?
And you realize how much you miss your friends and especially your family?

I was told my a very smart and important person in my life that we have many soul mates in this world. And when you meet them, it's unmistakable.

Or maybe I'm just crazy. Or maybe I just learned something. All I know is that something is different.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green Monster

Why is it that soon as I figure out what day I'm leaving for my next road trip I'm suddenly ADD. I start getting ready to go for a run, get distracted and start packing, get distracted and start blogging.... Or is it these GM's? Maybe a little like BM's - I mean, they're green and liquidy. Green Monster smoothy: I've bet my buddy that I can drink 100 of these in a year. It's a spinach based smoothy, but you mix with fruit and other yummy things to make it actually taste good. And, yes, it does taste good! Google it if you get a chance. I'm on #2 today. No pun intended...

Next stop on the list - somewhere south of here. For those who get my "find me spot" messages, you'll know when you get a waypoint. And I'm not being vague for the sake of keeping it a secret, I don't know either. Eventually I'm headed to Calico for a 50k on Sunday that I probably won't run (tendinitis still bugging me). It'll be a fun trip with some good friends.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Few Days to Kill (and No Virginia, Your Truck Cannot Fly)

Since I couldn't post these right away, it's a few days worth of posts, starting with Friday, ending with Sunday:

click HERE for pictures

It's Friday. Time for me to get outta town. After Across the Years I am down with tendinitis still. I'm giving my ankle one week to heal. Officially. No running, no streak started. And according to my buddy who thinks he's normal, it's old age that caused this.
I need to contemplate this and few other things, so I decided to do a little early spring cleaning, of my stash of arms, and head to some public land to camp and blow shit up. Or, unorganized target shooting for you civilized people. I'm out here now, writing this. So far I thought I'd trash collect on my drive down the dirt roads for targets. I'm in the Panoche Hills.

I only found one beer can (Coors, damn dirty Coors drinkers - I had NO ONE in mind when I wrote that...) so that was my target for tonight. I stood it on some bushes and went for it. You could see the smoke flying, the bullets whizzing, the ground behind it puffing up.... walk to my can.... nothing. Completely unscathed. Not one shot in my can.
I suck.
No problem. Shotgun time. Ok so I finally hit it with the pistols after a few more rounds (and no, not by banging directly on it with the pistol, either) after shooting the hell out of it with my shotgun. I'm not sure if I should be proud of my holey can or embarrassed that there's still so much left of it.
Either way, I forgot how much FUN this is! Tomorrow I'm gonna waste a bottle of water. Wooo hooooo!

Fri night sometime: My Gun, My Fun
I just shot off a bunch of rounds with my shotgun because I could. No particular reason. Just thought I'd share. Thats all.

Sat: Success Is....
Another successful day. Success being defined, today, as having done nothing but drive around to scout out camping & target shooting spots, shoot up a water bottle, eat, read, nap, ride bike, and not get a ticket from the ranger.
Yes, another incident with a ranger. I'm not a bad person. Just maybe too curious. I have to say again, the rangers around here are so much nicer than in the bay area. I was honestly confused about where I was (I had a crappy map) and was camped in an area I shouldn't have been. When I drove out of the road, his precise words were, "What do you think you're DOING driving on wilderness study area land?!?!?" I bumbled my excuses but I did have a bad feeling I may have been on the wilderness study land when I got there last night. That explains why I had the whole area to myself tho! There were signs, but they were soooo old and barely legible, so I thought, self, if they really didn't want anyone down there there would be big signs telling me so!
No. According to the nice ranger he said I was responsible for knowing the rules. I asked for a better map, which he had. And he let me off with a warning, but not before taking down all my information and running it.
So I drove out of the Panoche Hills and to the Tumey Hills, where I proceeded to blow up water bottles and other items I scavenged from the ground. You know those clays they use, they really disintegrate nicely when blown to smithereens with a shotgun from 30 feet away...

Like I said.... a successful day.

Sun: Unsolicited Lesson Learned: No Virginia, Your Toyota Cannot Fly

My guardian angel has a full time job. Or else I'm getting close to the end of my 9-lives.

I made myself a good breakfast this morning. For some reason I thought I'd need it.
I thought I'd drive a couple of the major "roads" in the Tumey Hills to scout a little more. I saw one side road on the map that really caught my eye. Oh yes, I had to go down that one. That WAS the one that was going to be a big score of a great big flat camp spot right in front of a big hill to use as a target backdrop. I just knew it.
Get to the road. Drive down it for a ways. I see an off trail that goes straight up a hill off to my right and I think, those crazy 4wd guys, who in their right mind is going to go up THAT thing?! I pass it and continue on my nice mellow looking road. About a minute later I see a hole in the road, and it seems that it should fit in between my tires. I go for it.

THUD. Ohhhhh sh**T. I'm on a road barely big enough for my truck, one side goes straight up, and the other, straight down. And my tire has dropped WAY further than I expected into a hole I didn't see (the road was grassy in spots). I'm looking down the cliff, truck tilting scarily far towards the downhill side. After a short panic, I touch the gas. Truck moves, forward. I go thru the hole with the 2nd tire, it goes. My mind is going "omgomgomgomgomgomgomg I won't be doing that again." Next time I'll get out & look if I don't know what it is. Shouldn't I have somehow known that by osmosis or something?? Sheesh.

I continue along thinking, I wonder how I'm going to get back over that hole? Hmmmm. Well, I guess it doesn't matter if I keep driving down here, even tho it doesn't look like anyone has been here in awhile. I'm SURE that doesn't mean anything! Haha, right? I get to another section of "road" that I don't like the looks of. This time, I park, get out, walk down there, and still don't like it. Decide I should go back. This is too bad, I'm alone, and no one is going to find my rolled truck or me until it's too late.
So I go back.
I get to the hole, stop, get out & inspect it. I can't believe what I see. HOW the heck I made it over this huge hole I have no idea. It's about 4 feet deep, and *barely* wide enough to fit between my tires. In fact, I can see my tire tracks right along the edge on one side, and the other side looks like it may have caved in when I drove into it, creating another pretty deep hole, one tire width between the steep downhill edge of the road and the deep part of the bigger hole. Now, it's all covering most of the road. My God, what if I had gone in that thing?!
Now, I can't drive around it. I decide to try anyway, another panic sets in as one tire gets way too close to that hole and the hill is too cut (about 2-3 feet of cut into the uphill side) to drive up and too narrow for me to squeeze in between.
More adrenaline as I realize how close i was before. I sit and stare at it. I day dream of levitating the truck and flying it 10 feet up the trail. It would really make things much easier. Where is Harry Potter when you need him?!
I get out my shovel. I decide, I'm going to dig the road wider on the uphill side. I walk over there and immediately realize that would take me all day.
I walk away from it all and up to that one side road I'd seen on my way in. Hmmmm, now if I could somehow get up on top of this big hill, maybe that road goes up there has another end.
I walk back to the truck, and chug some Odwalla Juice (brimming with B vitamins!). I don't know how else to calm my nerves. I have to reverse down this road with the cliff on one side. Ugh. Ever so slowly, I back down hoping my brakes don't burn into oblivion as I'm eyeballing that cliff in my side mirror - it seems like it takes forever. I get to a spot where I can pull off & park. I walk, and see the other side of the hill is also very steep. But I walk up there, and see there is a road up here. Decision is made. That's my way out.
Walk back to the truck, chug more Odwalla Juice which I'm now convinced is my super power nectar and can propel me up the hill. I turn on the truck and immediately go for it. I walked the whole thing, I know how steep it is, I'm scared, so I can't think about it. Just go.

Well you know the ending! I'm here writing this down so it couldn't have ended that badly!!! Ok, I made it to the top, hands shaking, once up there could see that the road did, in fact, connect to that other steep little side road. Thank GOD!!!!! You can bet I was!!!