Sunday, September 6, 2015

42 with a view

I turned 42 on Sunday. Yes, I admit to my age. I may not be completely thrilled about it...but I am willing to own it.

Being a Sunday, birthday celebrations included going to church. After three hours of meetings and then a big dinner we had decided to hike Ensign Peak. That sounds all impressive, doesn't it? Hiking up to a peak? It's really only a mile total round trip. The majority of the altitude climb is in the car winding our way up through the neighborhoods of the Avenues above Salt Lake City. I'd never been there before so I expected a pretty little walk up to the peak and then the famous view. We'd planned it to be right in time for the sunset out over the Great Salt Lake. But I was surprised to find that it was much more than just a pretty little walk. It really was a hike...short maybe, but one that had me huffing and puffing. I wasn't really thrilled about the fact that I was indeed huffing and puffing on this short little hike...even if it was rather steep and full of switchbacks. I decided to blame it on my sedentary summer due to recovery from surgery and clearly my body was just not up to its normal physical standards yet. {right???}

Rounding the final corner and ready to climb the last few feet, a warning was called down to us by a man already on top of the peak. "Stay to the right of the path," he said. "There's a rattlesnake down there."
Ummm...what?! His warning stopped me in my tracks. Cold fear came over me in a wave. I hate snakes. Someone in our little group pointed out the snake curled up under the big boulder just to the left side of the skinny little trail. Oh my. Before I had time to even think about turning around and going back down to the bottom, peak-less and view-less, Bryan hustled me past the doing the heebie jeebie shivers the whole rest of the way to the top. And the view was worth it...even if I did watch where I stepped the whole rest of the evening. I mean, who says the snake didn't have friends, am I right??

The view of the Salt Lake valley was pretty spectacular. And the sunset over the lake to the west was fascinating to watch. We explored around up top, took pictures and enjoyed the view for a good half hour or so. I was all set to stay longer and watch the lights wink on in the city below. Bryan thought it a better plan to start our walk down the trail before it got completely dark, especially seeing as he had somehow forgotten to bring his flashlight. {very unusual...he always has a flashlight, even when he isn't planning to be out after dark.} My iPhone has a flashlight...but as I mentioned this to him, my thoughts went back to the rattlesnake. Umm, yeah. Maybe taking the trail while there was still natural light to see by might be that much better to watch where I step. Our way back down was uneventful. The snake was gone. Although in some ways that made me more nervous...where did it slither off to? Was I going to run into it on the trail a little further down? I felt a little more in control when I could eyeball it. {as completely gross as that even eyeball a rattlesnake. ewwww!}

Every now and again we heard rustling in the bushes to the sides of the trail. Lilian would stop and listen...nervous and excited all at the same time, wondering what kind of animal might be moving around in there. And then as Bryan grabbed my hand to walk with me behind the other three kids, I saw him lean down and scoop up a small rock...and throw it into the bush ahead of Lilian. She gasped and stopped...looking intently, trying to see if she could get a glimpse of anything...with Bryan sporting a sneaky little grin behind her. Daddies and their teasing. Lilian didn't realize what was going on till we got to the bottom of the trail.

It was a fun way to celebrate my birthday. I wished we'd had Rebekah with us, of course. But a few days later I got a birthday card in the mail {or the post, as the British call it} covered in Queen Elizabeth stamps. She filled that card full of her recognizable handwriting, saying such sweet things...line after line of specific things she was thankful I'd taught her, reasons why she loved me. I cried and cried and cried. I miss my Rebekah something fierce...even if I am so unabashedly proud of that girl and what she is doing!!!

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