You Haven’t Lived ‘Til You’ve Thought You Might Die

Fulfilling the second and third purposes of this blog simultaneously (exercise & living dangerously), I recently went hiking with my husband in an area known as Desolation Wilderness. It’s a large, Federally owned swath of land that straddles the El Dorado and Tahoe National Forests–and yes, it’s as intimidating as its name suggests.

The trailhead is easy enough to locate, but once you’ve reached the large, flat granite boulders, you realize that the only things keeping you from becoming hopelessly lost in the wilderness are purposefully stacked rocks a la Blair Witch Project and a surprise innate sense of direction (you will quickly discover whether or not you have a dormant survivalist gene).

Much of the hike to the top of Horsetail Falls is, I guess not very surprisingly, vertical. Most people stop at the midway point where there is a nice lagoon to wade into before heading back down. My husband pushed us onward, and upward.

I almost cried. But I didn’t. Instead, I clung desperately to whatever bits of rock jutted out from an otherwise vertical granite formation. My feet edged cautiously and deliberately along a shelf that seemed to levitate above nothingness. And after four hours of climbing (and whining), I made it.

There was a shady spot next to a stream where I watched a long, whip-like snake silently weave its way along the water’s edge, head perfectly still above the water. We ventured across and lounged on flat, angular rocks that looked like prehistoric love seats, enjoying the photo opportunities and each other’s company.

We ran out of drinking water, but I felt like a total badass when I busted out water-purification tablets and refilled my water bottle with water that was headed towards the falls.

The descent was scarier than the ascent, but that’s when some of my best photos took place. Upon completing our hike, we drove two hours to an In-and-Out where I continued to live dangerously by ordering a strawberry shake. It was the best f-ing shake I’ve had in a long time.

I got my exercise on and lived dangerously–I didn’t know I had it in me. I’m curious what else I have up my sleeve.

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