I can’t really post anything yet because it is a surprise…and unfortunately I had to let my other half know that I actually write things…about him…that other people read. I will give full disclosure once his birthday is over (tomorrow)…
After you see what I’ve done with for him you’ll wish it was YOUR birthday, too.
A few years back, we were still dating and I wanted to impress him, so I surprised him with a hiking trip to the top of Blood Mountain to spend the night (I know, very peaceful and settling name). We slept under the stars – no tent, no protection…no BATHROOM. It took an act of Congress for me to pee outside the first time I had to, you know, go. I was standing behind a rock in agony and Tim was yelling down from the top of the hill, “Just GO already!” and I’d yell back, “I CAN’T!”
It wouldn’t come out. I sat in my squatting position so long my legs were shaking and I was begging my bladder to just release. Finally, once said body part realized that it really was ok to pee standing up and without porcelain…things were much improved. I was an old pro by nightfall.
In my brain this little birthday surprise was the best idea. Ever. Apparently, that brilliant plan took up too much space and my brain deleted out the “important things to consider and plan for” part of the excursion… like how difficult it may be to carry a pack that weighs around 30 pounds up a mountain or bringing food other than one bag of trail mix or protection or warm clothes because on top of a mountain…it is MUCH colder at night.
We walked around, ate some of the trail mix and did part one of two: watched the sunset. There was some guy there as well, hiking the Appalachian Trail. He made small talk, took our picture and then made his way to a little tent that, at that point, I would have given up my firstborn for. Our sleeping bags looked like a sad excuse for comfort next to his haven. I didn’t sleep but for maybe ten minutes. We found a little outcropping, put down our mats and sleeping bags and packed it in for the night. It was extremely windy, which made it very uncomfortable with our less-than-adequate clothing and once it got dark, I swore up and down that there were little creatures racing at me with tiny, sharp teeth from ground level. I would scream and dive into the sleeping bag and Tim would look up from his little bundle of warmth and tell me I was crazy. They were there. And they were coming for me. I just knew it. I was so cold and so uncomfortable that I inch-wormed all the way off my mat, onto the ground and squished up next to Tim, thinking he must have a better spot and I needed to get myself to that place, because he was sleeping like a baby. He kept shoving me back over because I was pushing him off his prime real estate.
I had to pee… about a zillion times that night. Not the kind where you can hold it. There was no holding anything. It was full-on sirens-going-off-must-pee-now kind of thing. I have no idea what my problem was…because its not like I brought gallons of water and then sat around filling my gut. Every time my bladder started screaming, I would have to peer out from the top of the sleeping bag to see if anything of those creatures were out there, sound the all clear to my brain, find my way down the trail, squat in the dark, hope nothing was there to bite me in unpleasant places and then hike back to my cold sleeping bag. Definitely more work than it was worth. On the bright side, I can pee outside now – no hesitations.
The whole idea behind the Sleep on Top of Blood Mountain Birthday was to watch the sunrise and sunset but I think that was the least of what we remembered. We got up the next morning and watched the sunrise while snuggled up inside our sleeping bags next to the Appalachian Guy, who was making us feel absolutely amazing by humming and stirring a cup of instant coffee with his gloved hands.
Yes, I know – I didn’t plan properly. No need to rub it in or anything.
Once the sun was up in its full brilliance, we packed up and groggily walked back down the mountain. Once we were near civilization, I found the nearest IHOP and pulled in. We had not eaten a meal since early afternoon of the previous day and happily plopped our dirty, smelly selves down into the booth the hostess led us to, ignoring the looks from tables around us. Yes, we smell and yes, these are clothes from two days ago and no, we didn’t brush our hair or our teeth today. Thanks for asking.
Funny enough, one of my all time favorite pictures was taken during that trip. It is a picture of our shadows while the sun is setting on the roof of the shelter at the summit (why didn’t we sleep in the shelter, you ask? Boy Scouts had taken over, that’s why).
This was where we slept (yes, I am serious)
And this was the sunrise the next morning