After a month of being away from my weekly ass kicking hike I decided to head back to Shaw Butte with the same girlfriend I work out with regularly. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.
Although temps were over 100 degrees, the humidity has definitely been very high over the past few weeks. The desert's weather has definitely changed here. Gone are the days of with-out-fail dust and thunder storms in the afternoon.
Anyways, I knew last night would be tough but thinking that I had to start somewhere after being away, I plugged on ahead. Although it's tough, it is such a beautiful hike. We could see the monsoon storm clouds coming down from the north; a shield of gray dropping from the sky over a nearby neighborhood. Someone was getting pelted.
At first I was thinking, this isn't so hard. Must be because I'm no longer carrying around 20 extra pounds. However, when we reached an area with a steep incline near the top, the sun unleashed its full fury on us. My stomach was starting to turn. I stopped for awhile to rest and hoped that the nausea would pass. After a few deep breaths it did. We continued up. Then my girlfriend starts telling me about after a marathon she completed how sick she got. She started to describe it in detail which was really more than I needed to hear. I'm thinking, why is she telling me this knowing how nauseous I just was??? Apparently thats all it took for me to hurl off the side of the mountain. Luckily there were no other hikers near us at the time.
I stood for awhile contemplating returning to the bottom or continuing on to the top. Actually after that I felt much better. She confessed a few minutes later that she decided to tell me about her own hurling experience because she knew that I'd feel better after I hurled myself. Well, thanks. . .I think.
We made it to the top and sat for awhile. It felt like the temperature dropped about 10 degrees which was a welcome relief. The breeze blew cool, too, which is a nice change from the 'hair dryer on high' breeze we usually experience. The sunset was spectacular. It sunk into the western horizon casting a red glow on the roofs of the buildings below much in the same way the sunlight sparkles off the ocean at sunset.
There is so much natural beauty to experience there that it makes the hike worth it despite the heat and how yucky I felt on the climb. No matter how long I have lived here or how long I will continue to live here I will always be in awe of the desert.
Tomorrow night we'll return for another butt kicking hike. The sky is like a kaleidescope this time of the year. Depending on the setting sun and the monsoon clouds one never knows what feast Mother Nature has in store for the eyes.