It was really a "happy-go-lucky" sort of hike for the first while.
The breeze was rejuvenating, we were going downhill, the scenery was spectacular.
It was a little hard on the calves and knees - and for those without cool Vibrams, hard on the toes too. But all-in-all it seemed we had planned the perfect hike. I'm prone to UTIs, so I drank and drank some more. I was hyper-vigilant about keeping hydrated. And because it was cool and we were going downhill ... on our way to the Colorado River where we could stock up again on water, it didn't dawn on me (or anyone else) that we might run out. As I mentioned before, no one volunteered to trek back to the car to get my non-sunglasses for me (pansies).
It seems like everything happened all at once: It got dark; we reached a low enough elevation where the temperature jumped and it got HOT; we ran out of water. Everyone donned head lamps and we slowed our pace. We slowed down partly because it was dark and harder to see, and partly because my legs were getting weaker and weaker. Everyone was telling me how flushed I was - but I didn't need to hear it from them. I was experiencing the heat bubble up inside me and felt that huge "UH OH". Last time that happened I drank a whole bottle of icy cold pickle juice and by the next day I was ok. But we knew we were close to our camp. At least, we figured we were. (I really wish I'd have taken my pedometer with us ... It would have been a source of encouragement and knowledge all along the way - to know how far we'd gone and how far we had to go) We had caught a couple of glimpses of the Colorado River, and could see that it wasn't too far ... but it was now too dark to really tell. A hiker had passed us going up not too long before that and told us we had about a half hour to go - but that was if we were going at a regular pace. I was afraid to stop - in fact, whenever anyone would suggest I rest, I refused - knowing that there was a chance that if I stopped walking I wouldn't be able to start again. When I had MS there was some permanent damage done to one nerve. Even after the doctor pronounced me cured, he said that although it didn't show on an MRI, that nerve had been so damaged at the onset of my symptoms, that I would most likely always have some problems because of it. I have noticed through the years that when I run I have to concentrated on lifting my left leg, because it's a little sluggish. Well, that damaged nerve, when I get too hot, won't connect at all. And my legs refuse my orders. I don't know how long we were going at the snail's pace, each step harder than the last, before Trevor suggested we back up a few steps to where there was a small clearing. As soon as he suggested it, we all agreed. I was starting to be pretty much "out of it" - but in my mind, magically - a sleeping mat was opened and inflated, and all the empty water bottles were put into one pack for Trevor and Azure to take to the river. Before taking off, Trevor and Brad gave me a priesthood blessing. Then the rest of us parked ourselves right there while Trevor and Azure left. Sierra, who was fighting her sickness, sat by Jace, I tried to hold back and not throw up, and Brad mixed a gatorade pouch into the water that was left in Jace's pack. It was super dark - the moon wasn't out yet, but by the way Sierra and Jace ooohed at the shooting stars, the night sky must have been something to behold! I'm pretty sure I took off my outer shirt and sent it with Azure to dip in the river. The time flew by for me. Not so for the others. I was concentrating so hard on healing that the time really went by quickly. A short while into our rest my body started that uncontrollable shaking that comes when you go into shock. I'm pretty good in potentially "panic" situations - I can think clearly. In fact, my mind goes into "control gear". So I knew I was going in to shock, told my family so, but also knew I had to cool off. So for me, it helped to have my mind working on trying to figure out which was best - cover up to help the shock, or take off more to cool off. Sierra was really, really worried - worried about me, worried about Trevor and Azure. About 5 minutes before the kids returned with water I started to feel normal. But I was concerned that if my body reacted this way on a descent at night - how in the world would I ever get out of the canyon going UP?!? I pushed that thought right away as I remembered the peace I felt when I made the decision to do the hike. And I remembered a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland where he said, "Beware the temptation to abandon a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it, it's right now." And I know that faith and fear cannot co-exist. I determined to fill myself with faith and to throw fear out the door. Trevor reached us first and I don't even remember what I did - poured water on me? drank it? what? I don't know. But I became able to move on. Trevor went back to help Azure (who was almost completely spent - I hadn't realized till later when I talked with Azure - that they ran. They were so concerned that they didn't even take a moment to rest) while the rest of us packed up to continue to the river. It had taken Trevor and Azure 22 minutes to get to the river - so we knew we'd be there in no time.
(to be continued)
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