Friday, January 9, 2009

A Random Walk to Waterfall

(I go back to Cleveland tonight, leaving sweet, sweet Hawaii behind. Since we haven't been at our apartment for a month, there's no perishables so baked goods will be held off a while. Here's a story instead)

So Joe tricked me into going a horrible hike by telling me that there was a 400-foot waterfall at the end. Alaska has a few post ice melt trickles down mountains but no bona fide waterfalls. Cleveland? Lacking in the waterfall department (and the cleanliness department, among other things). So I'm pretty excited about waterfalls, enough to be badgered into waking up at 5 am to drive three hours on the world's tiniest, twistiest, most nausea-inducing piece of pavement known to man. Oh yes, and since you're driving up a mountain you are also driving on the cliff edge of the tiniest, twistiest road. The bony hand of death beckons you the entire trip, which would be frightening if you weren't busy trying to keep from throwing up all of your internal organs. Screw death, I think I just felt my gallbladder make a break for it.

Banyan tree that wants to eat your soul

I've always had the tendency to get motion sick but because of my demonic acid reflux disease, I'm often nauseous for no apparent reason for days at a time. This actually happened the last two days, where each and every smell made me curl up and die. Joe would lean down to kiss me or bend down to TALK to me with his I-consumed-armagnac-and-wine-hours-prior breath and I would spend the next 15 minutes dry-heaving in a corner. Usually when I eat well and get enough sleep, I can skip the nausea. Which brings us to point two: in order to make it in and out of the hike, we woke at 5:30 am. And my stomach did not like that, no, not at all. I was immediatly nauseaous. Which brings us to point three: an hour and a half into the drive, we reached twisty, windy road time. So besides having woken up nauseaous I now had double duty nausea: useless stomach induced and motion sickness induced.

Joe climbs bamboo

I spent the next three hours slumped over in the passenger seat, trying not to redecorate the interior of the car in front of Joe's brother and cousins who were contained in the back seat. The boys made a few stops to stretch their legs but if you've ever been intensely nauseous, you know the best plan of action is to stay as still as possible because the Stomach Gods do not like movement and you will be severely punished if you change positions. So I stayed slumped against the window and telepathically tried to kill the boys were yelling about how awesome the view outside was. One of Joe's cousins, Josh, came back to the car where we had the following deep conversation:
Josh: So how are you feeling, Sophie?
Josh: ...that good, huh?

I managed to sleep for five minutes before we arrived at the park entrance, which appeased the Stomach Gods and my nausea abated a bit. But it was not a piece of cake from this point either. Point four: I asked Joe prior to the hike if my favorite silver gladiator sandals I bought at Payless would be adequate for the hike. "Sure, the whole thing is boarded!" he assured me. What he meant, apparently, was that the last quarter mile is intermittently boarded. The first hour you trudge uphill through a muddy path. It's not super intense or anything but not the cake walk Joe made it out to be and my shoes definitely were not appropriate. But it's not like the other shoe choices I had (snow boots or clogs) were any better. So I spent the better half of two hours ankle deep in mud, willing my shoes to hold together.


The waterfall WAS spectacular but I was also spectacularly muddy, insect bitten and moderately pissed off. I like waterfalls and hiking and all but couldn't decide if it was worth driving on Death Road to Nausea Town followed by Crap Hike in Inappropriate Footwear on Muddy, Definitely-Not-Boarded Trail. Thankfully the hike down, being downhill, went by a lot faster. Until we came to Point five: my sandals finally give out and break. Which isn't that surprising, given that I bought them for $15 which means they were assembled by Chinese orphans out of .5 cents of material. But it still sucked and I did the rest of the hike barefoot and hoped that squishy thing I just stepped on wasn't poisonous.

Me vs Waterfall

To his credit, Joe was horrified and offered to carry me down, which I denied since we both would've died when he inevitably slipped. I did let him carry me from the water fountain back at the trail start back to the car after I spent five minutes with my feet in the sink, washing off caked on mud. And I did accept a phenergan, an anti-nausea drug, to control nausea on the way back down, which I didn't take on the way up because it makes you PASS OUT. Had I taken it on the way up, I probably would've wandered off mid-hike to curl up in some bushes for a quick 14-hour nap.

And it was probably a good thing that I was knocked unconscious immediately afterwards because I was quite cheerful when I awoke, the whole hike seemed just part of a hideous nightmare. Also, Joe promised to buy me new sandals, which he did. I picked out some cute croc flats. I think the moral of this story is that I need to start systematically breaking things on hikes when I want new things.

1 comment:

alaskagrrrL said...

Oh, I'm so sorry (I'm not genetically responsible for your bad stomach, though)...but this was pretty hilarious AND great photos. BTW, for your other readers benefit, Alaska does have some spectacular waterfalls, just have to get outside immediate Anchorage area :)