Ed estimates he’s done this hike at least six times. One of those times was with two other people and two dogs, starting at midnight on a night with no moon. Black as pitch, in other words. (Dogs and humans wore headlights.)
Knowing that Toby was never going to be in any better condition than he is now, we decided yesterday was the day for the 7-mile hike.
By the end of it all, even Ed said “never again.” (He might go again, he says, but I won’t go with him.) I’m in pretty good shape now, but I don’t think I’ve ever done anything more physically challenging in my life. The last quarter-mile to the falls (at least, Ed says), I whined. I wasn’t whining for whining’s sake, but because I was exhausted, I hurt, and I’d had enough.
It was a very steep decline. At one point the rail put up to assist hikers had been pulled out of the ground. I generally can do anything I put my mind to, but I almost gave up before we got there. It felt torturous.
As you can see from the photo (taken at the falls), I did enjoy myself in the main, but I was in pain and exhausted. AND we were only half-way finished. (Ed had forgotten to make the reservation for the helicopter to pick us up at the falls. Ha!)
I think Toby did the best of all of of us, with the possible exception of Ed. In fact, if it were not for Toby, I probably WOULD have given up before we got to the falls. I was extremely proud of him.
I was walking like an old lady last night and am not much better today, but we feel blessed that all dogs and humans came through it without injury. We met a couple of people on the trail whose dog had fallen 30 feet. He was getting around o.k. (albeit slowly), but we don’t know how badly his internal injuries might have been. Also, Fox got spooked at a crevice about 3/4 of a mile into the hike… in a place he used to just hop up. On the way back down, I had to pick him up and hand him to Ed. (Fox generally doesn’t allow me to pick him up.)
So, it was a good day (despite my whining), I’m glad I did it and glad Toby did, too. But I’m equally glad we have checked that off our “to do” list.
Some more photos of what really is beautiful country are here. I put and captions on most of them, and I hope you’ll take a look.