OP/ED: On putting the wrong foot forward to celebrate 40
A good friend of mine just had her 40th birthday. Her birthday request – for a small group of friends to go on a three-day hiking excursion up Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. The kind of adventure where you pack EVERYTHING you will need to survive in the wilderness for several days into a ginormous 30-pound backpack and waddle up the mountain with ski poles and bear spray. She’s the type of girl who always wants to do crazy stuff like that – hike so far up a mountain that you reach snow … in August.
I know, crazy.
What happened to Bellini’s on the beach?! However, she’s extremely loveable despite her unique birthday celebration ideas, so I didn’t think twice about agreeing to go.
The big day came and we headed out. Our husbands had stocked us up with everything from flares and knives, to duct tape and compasses; we felt ready. I was feeling particularly ready, after all, I was the youngest in our little birthday group and I’m not in bad shape, I was so sure I could climb that mountain with grace and ease. (first mistake). My husband advised me to wear two pairs of socks to lessen my chance of getting blisters, but I just waved him off.
“Seriously honey, relax, I’ll be fine, these shoes are like a second skin to me, I’ve had them for years!” (second mistake)
So needless to say, I did not climb the mountain with grace OR ease; it turns out I’m much more wheezy, sweaty, and whiny than I thought. And my know-it-all husband was right, I got blisters. Whatever, it can happen to anyone, and it was nothing that 15 Band-Aids, moleskin, and half a role of duct tape couldn’t fix.
The hike up was amazing and we arrived at the cabin we were staying at thoroughly exhausted and exhilarated. I was ready to curl up with a nice refreshing bevy and soothe my blistered feet.
“Okay guys, let’s go hike around and explore!” Birthday Girl says enthusiastically.
Really?! What are you, some kind of masochist? We just hiked for five hours!
But like I said before, this friend is very loveable, so I begrudgingly agreed to go. Besides I was not going to be the one person to sit back at the cabin, especially after all of my gloating about how good I was going to do. But you can be damn sure I plan on making her pay when I turn 40!
So we hiked, and hiked … and hiked.
When Birthday Girl finally tired of her explorations, we went back to the cabin to eat and relax for the evening. It was at that point in our vacation that something became very clear to me – women are just as bad as men when it comes to language, bodily functions, and sexual innuendos.
In fact, we are worse.
Okay, okay, there were a couple ladies among us, but most of us were just plain disgraceful. The bad jokes, the flatulence, and the detailed descriptions that our husbands would rather we keep to ourselves, was enough to make me blush.
So, when we had finally tired of our shenanigans, we began to get ready for bed. Now, there are 20-something bunks in the cabin and ‘quiet time’ is at 10 p.m. The idea being that all the sleepy hikers can get their zzzzz’s for the next day of - you guessed it … more hiking!
So like clockwork, at 9:58, we got the giggles.
Not just the giggles, but the teenage-girl-crazy-laughter-that-got-you-in-trouble-at-slumber-parties giggles.
Like always, it started with one person (okay, fine, me!) and spread like wildfire until we were all howling like a bunch of hyenas. The kind of laughter where your sides ache, you can’t breathe, you pee your pants a little bit, and it eventually turns into sobbing. With thoughts of getting in trouble with the cabin manager, or waking up 20 people looming over our heads, it just got worse, until we were stumbling around shushing each other and bursting into hysterics again. I guess you never really lose your inner 12-year-old. My apologies to anyone who shared the cabin with us that night. Seriously, I’m sorry.
Okay, not that sorry.
Not so sorry that I would never do it again. In fact, the trip was a blast, the views were incredible, the hiking was invigorating, and the girl time was much needed. My advice to anyone planning a ladies’ only hike up a mountain – listen to your husband, double up on socks; bring hoards of moleskin, duct tape, and Band-Aids; and leave your ego and your lady-like manners at home.