One weekend, the summer after our freshman year of college, I was invited to go camping with Andi and her family. I grew up going camping with the Kierst’s. Chris, a geologist for the state of Utah, knew all the best back country camp spots. The place we determined to go that particular weekend was a place we had been to before. It was about halfway between Moab and Green River, a good twenty miles off the paved road, to a place where sand dunes were bordered by the red sandstone canyons that are Southern Utah.
As we drove in to camp, something punctured a tire. Chris replaced it with the spare, drove us to a nearby camp spot in a wash below some rocks, and then turned around to head back to town to have the tire fixed.
The rest of us set up camp. But Chris never returned.
Finally at about midnight he drove back into our camp with his tale. On his way back out something punctured another tire. He then had to hike back out almost twenty miles to the road, where he thumbed a ride, got some new tires, then convinced someone to take him out to the desert to fix his car.
But with the car in good working order, we decided to go into Moab the next morning for a hike to a local waterfall. It was a short hike of only a mile or so to a fifteen foot waterfall that spilled over the rocks into a pool below. We weren’t the only visitors that morning, and most of the kids were cliff jumping off the falls into the water below. Andi, Lexi and I were no exception, jumping from a lower rock of only ten feet into the shallow waters.
But then I got brave and decided to jump from the higher cliff – like many others were doing there that morning. It took me half a moment to gather my courage, then I leapt into space and plunged into the too-shallow pool below. As soon as I landed I knew: I had broken my foot.
I swam to the surface, to where the water was only a foot or so deep, where Cheryl was standing on the sidelines watching the fun. Without trying to cause too much of a scene, I sheepishly told her that I was pretty sure I had broken my foot.
She didn’t believe me. But when I couldn’t stand or walk on it she started thinking maybe I was hurt.
So she began asking all the (college) kids at the waterfall who would carry me down.
Luckily (unluckily) for me, there was a college football player there that day. His strong, brawny body had no problem piggy-backing me down the canyon to the car. What could have been the ultimate romantic gesture turned horrifying as I willed my body to resist my strong need to – um, well, relieve myself.
Finally off the bouncy football players back and into the safety of the car, we set off for the Moab hospital where broken bones were confirmed. But they wouldn’t cast me there, rather told me to go see a doctor in Salt Lake on Monday after the swelling had gone down.
Wrapped and iced and given a wheel chair, Andi had the great idea of pushing my chair full speed out to the car. Only, she didn’t see the cracked sidewalk sticking up as she ran down the handicap ramp. When the chair hit the bump, I went flying.
But I was already broken, so what were a few more bruises?
Well, it was late so we decided to spend the night in a hotel in Green River. As we drove to the town we picked up a hitch hiker who had her own tale of vehicular woe. We ran her to the service station before heading to the local motel to find a room for the night. Chris and Cheryl would return to camp in the morning to pack up and take us home.
When they arrived into camp the next morning the campground was a disaster. A flash flood had torn through the canyon in the night, sweeping everything down the wash. The tent Chris and Cheryl had their entire married life was destroyed. Air matresses were punctured. Camp supplies were strewn across the desert. They gathered what they could and we all headed home.
When we got home the worst luck of all: Chris and Cheryl had put in a brand new hardwood floor the week before. They returned to find that the toilet had overflowed and the water had sat on their new floor all weekend!
I’m going to try and write down memories I have – for my little lovelies who always ask “Tell me a story of when you were a kid . . .”
I’m going to call them “Tales for Tuesdays” – and will try to write one a week . . . unless of course something else happens. In which case I won’t.