Monday, September 26, 2011

Photo Essay: A Heat Stroke Hike Up the Araby Trail

I failed to complete two different hikes in Palm Springs this weekend.

But I didn't feel like a failure.

After all, the heat was unforgiving.

The sun was scorching.

The trails, tremendous.

The fact that I conquered any of it was an accomplishment.

My first attempted hike was the climb up the Araby Trail to the Bob Hope house, an architectural tourist stop that most people drive to visit.



The trailhead is relatively easy to find, if you know where to look. (I didn't know where to look.)



It quickly climbs and meanders behind private backyards...




...under overpasses...





...and through trees...





...quickly revealing the white-washed housing communities below.



It's a straightforward climb to the Bob Hope house...



...but that wasn't the problem.



It was the hour-long bike ride I'd taken at 8 a.m.



It was the three hours of swimming in the sun that made me forget to eat lunch.



It was the nausea I felt from the breakfast tofu scramble and the dehydration I felt from the morning coffee.

It was the delirium of desert dry and hallucinating heat that kept my legs stumbling forward, bobbing and weaving up the trail.



With half my water gone, and the house in sight, I had to do myself a favor, keep my recently concussed head in mind, and decide to not fall off a cliff.

I had to turn around.

It's not that I would have seen that much more had I gone all the way to the top, but it was hard to abandon the hike before I'd finished.

And yet, I had to remind myself, I was the only hiker out there. I wasn't the only hiker to ever climb that trail, but I was the only one on that day, at that time, under that sun, in that heat.

And I'd done enough...at least for that day. At least, until tomorrow.

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