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When a girl like me goes hiking.

December 2, 2011

Essays for Giggles, Me vs. Nature

In an effort to write about something other than bodily fluids and toilets, I am going to switch gears and talk about how much I detest being in the wilderness.  There are two kinds of girls in the world:  woodsy outdoor-types and those who consider “roughing it” to be a hotel WITHOUT a restaurant.  Guess which one I am?

Back in ancient times, when my husband and I were just dating, Mr. “I like the Nature” himself suggested that we go camping and hiking at Smokey Mountain National Park.

Remember those dating days, when you pretended to be interested in the things that your partner was interested in?  You know, the girls watching football on Saturday, and the boys holding shopping bags while their ladies tried on clothes?  This is the reason that I advocate dating for AT LEAST two years before marriage.  It is mighty difficult to keep up the pretense for that long.   Prior to that, you are just marrying who your honey THINKS you want them to be.

My husband and I dated for two years and was engaged a full third year before marriage.  We lived together nearly all this time and this man did not fart for THREE YEARS!

Now my daughter and I cannot walk from one end of the house to the other without a gas mask.  I often ask him, “whatever you did when we were dating to cork it up, would you please do that again?”  I have a theory actually that it is three years’ worth of bottled up gas that has been exploding like a volcano around here ever since.

When our daughter was three years old, we were riding in the car and passed a dead skunk, and she said, “I smell Dada”.  He was out of town for business, several states away at the time, but our sweet little baby girl new what her Daddy smelled like, and apparently it was ode de’skunk.

But as usual, I digress.

So, I said to my man, “heck yeah, who loves to go hiking in the woods more than me?!”  I went out and bought $80 hiking boots, which have not been worn since, and off we went.

We were there two full days.  On the first day, we hiked a particular trail where I needed to wobble across a fallen log over a rushing creek maybe 3 or 4 feet deep.  Under normal circumstances I fall a lot.  I mean A LOT.  So it is no surprise to anyone that I did not make it across that log, but as I fell, I happened to land with my butt square on the log and my legs going “ass over teakettle” (ask your grandma if you don’t know that phrase).

This particular happenstance landing created something of a fulcrum whereby, my rear was firmly planted on the log, and the weight of my torso was dragging me backward head first into the water.  With my hind end perfectly balanced on the log, and my top heavy torso dragging me under, I was destined to drown in only a few feet of water.

I saw all of this happening in slow motion.  I watched my future husband just stand there, staring at me as I faced imminent peril.  For a moment, I thought, “I don’t know this guy THAT well.  Perhaps he is a sociopathic killer.”  When it appeared that he was actually going to just stand there and watch me die, I gasped out “help me” and finally, he reached out a hand to save me.

Now in his defense, this is not his version of the story.  He claims there was no hesitation on his part and my slow-mo, life-flashing-before-my-eyes near-death experience was just my over active imagination.

Whatever.

I lived to see another day, and still gamely trying to show my boyfriend what a great, outdoorsy, lifetime mate I would make for him, I ventured out on yet another trail the next day.

This time, he was really testing my limits.  It was something like a 6 mile hike.  3 miles to a waterfall and 3 miles back on stony, winding paths.  By the time we were headed back out, I could barely walk.  My hiking boots now weighed about 10 pounds on each foot.  I was literally stumbling on rocks that I did not have the strength to lift my feet over.

At this point in the story, let me tell you that I am DEATHLY afraid of snakes.  Doesn’t matter size or breed.  I am TERRIFIED of snakes.  When I see one, I go into this spastic, hysterical, evangelical sort of seizure.

So A. is ahead of me and I am stumbling along several feet behind him, whining like a toddler, when I hear this rustling sound on the side of the trail.  The path was built into a mountain so that there was elevated ground to my left and a deep slope to my right.

In an eye blink, a RATTLESNAKE flew 6 feet into the air and landed 2 feet in front of me.  She had apparently been scaling down the mountain, lost her footing (ha ha), and fell onto the path.

If it had happened 30 seconds earlier, the damn thing would have landed on my head, in which case, I would not be writing this blog, but would have been life-flighted off the mountain and lived the last decade in a catatonic state.

So, Miss “I-am-too-tired-to-lift-my-feet” seconds earlier, now turns and runs in cartoon fashion as fast as possible in the opposite direction.  I am not a graceful runner.  My boots were heavy and the path was full of boulders as big as basketballs.  I am sure I looked like someone with severe mental issues and probably some sort of physical disorder as well.  Let me point out again, that this was one way in and one way out.  I had to come back eventually.

Through the roar of panic in my ears, I heard my boyfriend/ future husband scream “Renea”!  And for some reason, I imagined that this was because the snake was chasing me.  So I started hoofing it faster.  He screams my name again and enough reason seeps into my addled brain, that I dare to slow down and turn around.

The snake was long gone.  As soon as she hit the ground, she kept right on going off the trail in the direction she had originally been headed.

He had been screaming for me to stop, not run faster.  His rather moronic advice to me at that point was to never run when I see a snake.  I told him that HE could stand still when he saw a snake if he wanted to, but my policy was to run.  And I know I can’t outrun a snake if it wants to catch me, but I am going to die trying.  I am going to make the thing work for it.

A few minutes later, I made it off that godforsaken mountain and have never been hiking again.  After that trip, the dating-moon was nearly over.  By the time the poor man married me, he actually did know what he was getting into.

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Renea Dijab

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11 Comments on “When a girl like me goes hiking.”

  1. amye Says:

    so funny! love reading these… you should write a book 🙂

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      Thanks! I have no idea who is reading this thing. (a) I can not figure out how I am supposed to see all my “followers” and (b) it seems more people are reading it than have told me personally…

      Reply

  2. Sherry Says:

    I am in total agreement with you! Heck, even a caveman was smart enough to seek shelter inside……hence the name “caveman”! My moto is “ALL SNAKES ARE DEADLY & OUT TO GET ME!” Fright & flight has worked for me all these years. The theme song to Green Acres came to mind when I read this!!! Good way to start my morning.

    Reply

  3. warhick1981 Says:

    You have the unique talent of being able to make me crack a smile.

    Reply

  4. warhick1981 Says:

    Oh, and this is me, Bob Hickman; I just had to sign up for a WordPress account to “like” you. So, think of warhick1981 as my Superhero identity.

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      You are always my super hero! Thanks for letting me know. Email me personally to give me the background on your name and secret identity. Am curious George.

      Reply

      • Bob Says:

        There’s no big mystery; I used to work at a job in Warsaw, IN and the company email would combine the office location with your last name to create your email address, so I was Warhick. Ever since, I’ve used that, along with my high school graduation year, and am Warhick1981.

  5. Tammy Says:

    This is hilarious! Two comments . . .

    #1: I can’t believe you actually had a FLYING RATTLESNAKE come at you, and I’ve never heard this story before. What else have you been holding in?

    #2: I have been hiking countless times in the Smokies and elsewhere and have never seen a flying rattlesnake or any other kind of airborne reptile. I also don’t have any interesting poop or port-a-potty stories to tell. I have to wonder why these things are only happening to you. Maybe that could be the subject of a future post!

    Reply

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