Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Fantasy - Warm Days in Minnesota and Sibling Rivalry

Lee lost on top of Eagle's Peak.

View from Eagle's Peak.

My Fiorentini and Baker boots worked well for hiking. :-) Love these boots!

The pool house at the Lake of the Dalles. So vintage and sweet.

This never happens here. Languishing at table over lunch at Lucia's - outside in the sun - on October 10. But it happened this week - since the beginning of the month, we've had what I call "Santa Monica days" = 72 - 76 degrees and sunny. Perfection.

It inspired Lee and me to do a "color drive" yesterday. It seems a little Midwestern ma and pa to me, but hey, I guess that is what we are. I didn't have an Oldsmobile, though. I had my Mazda.

We don't, however, think ahead - like pack a blanket for napping in the sun, or take water or my camera. All I did was pack a couple of apples in my handbag in case Lee's glucose levels dropped (have I mentioned he's diabetic?) That's it. He's not a planner that way. He's more, "Let's just go and stop talking about it."

So we drove to Taylor's Falls, MN up Hwy 95 in Minnesota, then headed across the St. Croix to Hwy 35 in Wisconsin to Interstate Park and the Lake of the Dalles. It is so incredibly lovely and quiet and park-y. So un-Manhattan. Or un-Minneapolis. So nature-filled. Really calming and beautiful.

Well, here's the quick story. Lee reminded me of his oldest brother, Don, and his wife, Gail, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Gail's 65th birthday a couple of years ago. (And, Don is older than Gail, but we won't be specific.) This is impressive! They live in Colorado and have been climbers for years, talking about "14-ers" and things that make me go all woosy. A 14-er is a 14,000 foot mountain. That is almost 3 miles up. Well, please, I thought I was something special living on a 4th floor walk-up in NY!

So, anyway, we are duly impressed - or depressed - I'm not sure which - especially given that we are 10 (ten!) years younger. They talked about how they literally had to think about turning over in the tent at night - it took so much energy- they had to decide if it was worth it. And Don thought at some point, he had acute pneumonia at a certain altitude - and may be the end of his days.

Well, we knew we wanted to hike up to Eagle's Peak at Interstate Park. I can't even say "climb" up to Eagle's Peak. It is just a hike - and it is .8 mile. It is not a big deal. We did fine - got to Eagle's Peak - relived our romantic past there and decided to head back. Well, we went the wrong way and within moments, realized we couldn't find the path back down. We tried this way and that, with no luck. Then we decided to go back to the top - and start over. Obviously , we got ourselves there - surely we could find our way back.

As we stood on the top of the rock, another hiker auspiciously came up from the path. We felt like this was our lucky, lucky day - the gods had sent us just what we needed! We acted like we knew exactly what we were doing - headed toward the path from which the hiker arrived as we said "Hello." He said, "That's the way down, you know."

We said, "Yeah, that's what we want." Wink, wink.

Whew! We were totally lost at Interstate Park on Eagle Peak - only .8 mile from civilization. All I could think of was either...."I want my mommy" or "I want New York, where I know my way around."

It was made very clear. We should never ever attempt Mount Kilimanjaro. Don and Gail, you will always be way cooler than we are. Seriously. What you did is immensely impressive.

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