Sunday, December 21, 2014

Double-Ventana Weekend

Ventana Canyon was the first hike I went on this year, and the account of the trip can be found elsewhere. This time, though, I hiked this trail twice in rapid succession: once yesterday, and again today. Let me tell you a bit about why.

The thing about Ventana is that Laura and I hiked it pretty early on in our hiking habit. We had hiked a few trails in 2013, but it was my resolution to go hiking at least 12 times this year that really pushed the habit. Between my determination to fulfill my resolution and Laura's excitement to explore different places, we've both become, if not expert hikers, at least experienced ones.

The changes were most notable recently, when we managed to convince some of our friends to join us on a couple of hikes we'd done before. We were both surprised when our friends kept getting tired at spots we remembered being tired at, but we were both relatively fine. Our stamina has increased dramatically.

So, when we thought back to Ventana Canyon and how tough it was, we wondered if we would be able to handle it any better than we had before. Ventana's not a long hike, really, but it is a vertically challenging hike, which can really wear you out way more than, say, Seven Falls, which is longer but flatter. Our first time there I'm pretty sure I literally pushed Laura up the last part of the hike, which is where most of the altitude gain occurs.

I had a plan, though. I knew we had gotten better and, thinking back on how much Laura and I had grown together over the past two years or so, I decided to do something special. So, yesterday, after a short shift at the office, and rushed over to Ventana with an object I had prepared the week before. I hiked all the way to the goal, near Maiden Pools, and found a tree to hide this object under. The base of the tree was somewhat protected by a spiny agave-looking bush, but I managed to shove the thing in there and hide it behind a few rocks. Then I tied a ribbon around the base of the tree and hiked back in time to catch a dinner with Laura, with her none the wiser. Oh ho ho.

Today we managed the hike, and while Laura definitely complained a bit on the hike up the final bit, it wasn't nearly as bad as the first time. Once we were up there I mentioned a "geocache" I had looked up, and so we started looking for it. After failing to find it, we went on to the maiden pools and hung out there for a while, resting. The ribbon was more obvious on the way back, and Laura found the "geocache" pretty quickly after that.

It was a bottle containing a note and a ring. Seemed like a pretty good note to end the year on, as far as our hikes go.