Yesterday was a good day. I had Friday off and had planned to do our first deep clean of our new apartment since getting all unpacked. Saturday I am also off, and I had told Patrick and Brandon we would go up in the mountains for the day.
Things didn't go as planned. We got up Friday and started getting ready for the day, and by lunchtime both of my guys decided they wanted to go up Friday instead of Saturday. Well, I comptemplated it a bit and decided, what the heck, I can clean tomorrow, and besides, it will be more busy than usual in the mountains on Saturday due to the upcoming holiday. So up we went.
We drove into Rocky Mountain National Park and parked in the lot to catch the shuttle bus to the trail heads. As we rode the shuttle, we decided we wanted to revisit the waterfall on this trip, so we got off on the appropriate stop. As we approached the trail, Patrick took one look at it and I instantly knew by his expression that he thought we had made a bad decision. The first bit of the trail is downhill and there are "steps" along the way. Of course there are no rails.
I looked at him and told him, "You CAN do this, I'll be right with you the whole way." Still not believing, he said "O.K." with the tone of, "If you say so". He took about ten steps and stopped. "I don't know..." "You can do this!" I said. He pressed on.
We walked on for a bit, sometimes holding onto my shoulder for balance, and came to a large set of rock stairs. "You can do this, it's just one stair at a time. We'll walk them together." Step after step we went up until there were no more. "See! You did it!" "Ya!" he said, a little more confident this time.
At this point we were about halfway to our pinacle- the falls. What the trail map doesn't explain until you are reading the signs ON THE TRAIL, is that there is a .3mile trail you must walk to get to the actual .6mile trail to the falls. So what I thought was a little over 1/2 mile trail each way was actually almost a mile each way.
Luckily we had all brought water bottles and stopped from time to time so Patrick could rest. Who I am kidding, I needed rest too. Being a human walking stick/cane is tiring too.
Patrick was doing pretty well, feeling a bit more confident when we came to a "bridge" over a creek that actuall consisted of a log that had been leveled on the top and one hand rail. The log was about 10" wide. He saw that and said, "No way!" Brandon told him that the rail was on the left, so that should help. "Ya, but the way back!!" he exclaimed. I for a moment thought we would have to turn around, but I didn't want to give up that easily. "No, just face the rail and take side steps instead, like this" and showed him what I meant.
In no time we were both across the bridge, having side stepped it together. "YA!!!"
While we were walking, we were passed up numerous times by other hikers. It is wide enough for Patrick and I to walk it side by side, but thats it. Many times we had to "pull over" and let others pass. Patrick never seemed to let it bother him. Our son Brandon, who is 14, always kept 10 feet or so in front of us scouting out what was coming ahead. He was very patient and helpful and let me focus on helping Patrick.
After that, Patrick pretty much new he could make it the whole way as far as his balance was concerned, but he was getting tired and was ready to get to the falls. We had reached a nice place to rest close to the top, and chose to do so. We had caught up to a family who had passed us earlier on the trail, and the mother approached us. "Would you like to use our walking stick? It would be no problem, and you could just give it back to us at the bottom of the trail." I looked at Patrick and asked him, "Well?" "No, thank you. The stroke!" He pointed to the right side of his body and rolled his eyes. "Are you sure? It's absolutly no problem..." "Well?" I asked him again. "It might make it easier- why don't you go ahead and use it!" "No, no problem."
I turned to the mother, "Okay, he says no... but thank you anyway!" She smiled and she and her family continued up the trail while we rested. About five minutes later we dove back in.
It took us probably close to an hour to walk up the trail. When we made it, we looked at the falls, said "Yep- they're still there" and rested on some rocks for about 20 minutes while Brandon checked out the surroundings.
"Welp!" Patrick said, looking at me and "saying" he was ready to tackle the trip back down. "Okay, I'm ready if you are!" As we stood back up to begin, the mother found us once again. "I am going to offer one more time to let you use our walking stick. The trail can be harder going down than up. We don't mind at all..." I once again looked at Patrick, "Well?" "Nope. Thank you anyway." He then gestured to the trail and said, "No Problem!" She smiled and said, "It's a guy thing, isn't it? My husband is diabetic and needed a piece of candy while on a trail the other day and he wouldnt ask anyone. When I started asking everyone we came to on the trail if they had any, he got SO EMBARRASSED!" "Yes, I think it is a guy thing!"
We began the trek back down, Patrick feeling pretty confident and very proud of himself. The walk only took about half an hour this time. He tried using me a bit less and use his own balance a bit more, but of course I was always by his side just in case. When we made it to the shuttle lot he looked back at the trail and said, "I won!!" He then looked at me and said, "I'm BACK!" (meaning he was back to his old self).
We finished the day by going out to eat and stopping by the ice cream shop for dessert. This time I was proud of ME! I actually ordered something healthy at the restaurant and even took half home. WOO HOO! When I got ice cream I again used self-control and ordered the smallest cup-no fancy cone. I ate until the ice cream was level with the top of the cup. I covered it with a lid and put the rest in the freezer for a later day.
All in all, a good day was had by all!!!