It was around 9pm that night when we finished our wild caving trip. So we hiked back up to the car and drove an hour back to Billy's place. We definitely needed food and beers to discuss this crazy adventure. The funny thing about Billy (well there's actually a lot of funny things about Billy but that's because he's hilarious) is he has no idea how crazy some of the things he does is. (Wow great sentence, English minor.) His boring, every day activities are what "normal" people would consider to be crazy...impossible. Besides wild caving, Billy's other favorite activities include: kayaking (he once kayaked halfway across Missouri in a couple of days), rock climbing and slacklining.
Never heard of slacklining? Watch this video. It's basically tight rope walking that you can set up and take down anywhere. You have to have an insane amount of balance and focus. He does tricks on it. He picked this talent up after 24 hours of getting on, falling off, taking a step, falling off, trying, failing, trying, and failing. The dude just doesn't give up on something he wants to be good at. He brought it with him on a trip to our house and Chad and I could barely stand on it when holding on to people on either side of the line. (We did have a lot of fun trying though!) It's incredible watching what he can do on it...I wish I had a video of him to show you!
Anyway....my point is that things that feel natural to him are not things that feel natural to most of the population....he's been like that for as long as I can remember. So we spent the rest of the night drinking beers and trying to tell Billy how crazy of an experience wild caving was. I think he got some good perspective on it after a while...mostly because we would NOT shut up about it. :) And I know he loved every minute of taking us wild caving for the first time...he loves introducing people to something he is passionate about. The good news is while Billy may not fully understand how gnarly most people think it is to crawl in super tight spaces in random holes underneath the ground like that...he does have complete respect for it. He never goes caving alone, he's prepared with at least 2 backup lights, someone knows about his trip, etc. And to answer the question you have in your head...he has had 1 moment of slight panic in a cave before, after getting a little turned around in one he had never been in.
You read it here....I'm waiting for the day he's on the National Geographic cover....it's happening some day.
The next morning Billy had to head back in to work so Chad and I got an early start to a couple of hikes Billy had recommended. (Chad even skipped out on watching the Giants game they had playing at the rec hall that morning to spend the whole day hiking through the woods with me. Sans football. He must love me A LOT.) :)
I can't remember the name of the first hike we went on. But it was beautiful when we got up there. It wasn't so much a hike as it was like doing the stair stepper. There was a million and one steps to go up to get to see this view.....
|Definitely worth the steps.|
|See the road down there?|
|It was sunny but cold that morning...|
|I like this view. :)|
|Cool mountain road in the park.|
After taking in the view for a while we headed back down (oddly enough there wasn't an elevator) to drive to our next hike. We saw some cool things on our drive there....
|I hate it when they don't clear the road of falling debris. :)|
|I took this from the sunroof after we went through it.|
|Then we found another fallen tree. It was rather large.|
|Just for some more perspective to show you how big that tree is. (Yes, I took out our license plate number...I can't have any crazies from the internets tracking me down.) :)|
One of my absolute favorite things in this world is hiking with Chad. It's a great place for us to just be. We talk about everything and nothing at all. We laugh at each other. We make up games. I feel like I learn something new about him every time. I even love the not talking part of hiking with him. I love listening to the sounds around us and feeling very connected without feeling the need to fill the silence. I'm not sure how anyone could be in a place like this and not feel the connection to the Earth, life, the people you love, and a connection to something bigger than yourself. But maybe that's just me. :)
|I spy a tiny Chad...do you? :)|
|Cool curvy tree.|
|All of the fallen trees sitting in the sun were steaming...it was pretty.|
|Close to the top. Lots of snow.|
|Top of Watchtower.|
|I bet that stream down there is really flowing in the spring.|
|Not a bad place to stop for a rest.|