The coin danced slowly through the cosmos, a silver sliver reminder that the weekend was finally here.
"I'm growing claustrophobic, again," I told my wife, to which she responded with three of my favorite words.
"Let's go somewhere."
We're on a strict budget which makes things a little trickier but I do kind of like it. The way I see it, I'm already a rich man with a girl by my side and a roof over my head--the rest is just logistics.
So we had money for a tank of gas. More than enough for an adventure.
I'd scoured the house for the better part of 15 minutes to find a quarter but as it bounced in the meat of my hand--the pungent fragrance of the Sharpie lingering in the air--the plan for the day unmasked itself in my palm and pulled at my heart.
F... for Fossil Creek.
We packed the essentials:
- Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwiches
The where hadn't mattered so much as the why. Hence, the decision to flip a coin and the conclusion to F-It...to Fossil Creek instead of Water Wheel Falls.
Long, predictable hours at the desk, poor excuses for sleep, so many responsibilities and so little time. [insert your challenge here]
We go to reset. Because a day in the sun beats reruns on Netflix and open roads lead to open dialogue. We're not scaling Everest, but we go to test ourselves. To remind our spirits that we're capable of more. And to be honest, I had an unshakable desire to jump off something high.
It's good to scare yourself once in a while--it's a reminder you'll survive discomfort.
"4 miles in, same 4 back out," the Ranger told us, "You'll drop about 1,700 feet, and have to make that up on the way back, so be sure you've got water."
"Wine is mostly water," I thought, eyeing my Nalgene and hers.
And we dropped into the ridge. Strawberry was already a good 20 degrees cooler than the valley, but it's still Arizona and it's May. So in case you don't speak Desert, it's hot here.
I'd seen pictures of the falls at the bottom and was pretty sure we were on the right path but I wasn't in any hurry to clarify. I figured we'd just ride the trail out and let it show us whatever it had in store.
Surely, we'd end up somewhere, which is precisely what we'd set out to accomplish.
The great thing about hiking with a partner is the perspective. All the while down, Dani had been quietly picking flowers that I hadn't even noticed. I saw Pines and she saw petals. Together, we stockpiled memories of a beautiful trip.
Two hours in, the creek began to slither into our ears. The sandstone and shrubs hid her face but we could hear her and knew we drawing close. Three, four more unassuming bends and the desert made way for a brilliant oasis of lush, green trees and grass that nearly ate the trail whole.
We'd made it.
The canyon narrowed to a mouth and fanned into the valley beyond. Pools, tides, veins and the falls. Worth every step to get there.
We bounced down the boulders, popped the cork and plopped our feet in the creek. Dani went silent, gently closing her eyes.
I knew she was listening to the wind. And I was listening to her heart, thankful I'd found someone as drawn to this as I was. I'm not even sure we spoke much while we were there, but the smiles said it all.
It's amazing how comfortable a rock can be when ergonomic chairs become silent battlefields of office bureaucracy and shrinking purpose.
I left Dani in her moment and climbed back up the falls. Heights never used to faze me until a recent climbing scare. Now, the elevation makes my eyes slip in and out of focus and adrenaline has met its match with rationale.
So I'll admit it, I got scared. There was a lot of water rushing behind and below me and I don't want to be the idiot who gets hurt and can't support his wife. But somewhere in the middle of my internal dialogue, I thought back to the office and knew it'd haunt me Monday morning if I was sitting at the same old desk without the joy of a new experience.
The water was cold and the the tips of my toes grazed the bottom as I plunged into the depths but my soul flew.
We hiked back out in the mid of day.
Our necks burned crimson, but our hearts were gold.
Green trees, blue skies and the calm glow of evening took us home.
But not without a celebratory cone.
So I have a challenge for you.
I'm not advocating extreme negligence or irrational unpreparedness, but find your "somewhere". Don't peg it down to a perfect science and for God's sake, try to find a place where your iPhone can't designate every step of the way. It's still okay to figure things out on the fly.
Got your somewhere? Good.
Now find a someone. This person can be a friend, family, acquaintance or maybe that girl you've had your eye on.
Ask them to go somewhere with you this weekend.
And see what lies at the end of the trail. You might find courage. You might find beauty. Maybe a friend and maybe peace.
But I hope you realize, the beauty of this world is that you can always go somewhere with anyone.
Clock's tickin'. Get out there.