January 2, 2008

on hiking in the new year...

I always say that I'm going to do something big on New Years eve, but it never happens. Kind of like how I've been saying I'm going to dress up for Halloween for the last seven years, but we have yet to see that happen. I guess I'm not a big-shindig type of person after all. And to be honest, I'm never disappointed in what I do end up doing on nights like that. What can I say? I'll usually choose a cozy night at home over an evening of drinks and celebratory mayhem with a bunch of people I really don't know that well.

The husband and I spent new years eve watching the CSI Marathon (Grissom owns my life), baking/eating Chex mix and going to bed early. We didn't even make it to midnight. It worked out better that way, because Jay had an entire day planned for us on the 1st. (One of the reasons I fell in love with the guy is because of his sense of adventure. He's the best at taking one day and making the most of it. There's nothing I love more than when he plans days for us, because he comes up with the most random, fun things for us to see.)

We woke up early and drove to a town called Joshua Tree where they apparently have a National Park. Full of Joshua Trees. (I called that one.)

We drove around to different places throughout the park; there were hiking trails and zillions of huge rock formations for climbing. I've never attempted rock climbing, nor do I want to. We watched this group of people nonchalantly climb up this huge rock WITH NO ROPES OR ANYTHING AHHH. I was all, "Jay, we are about to witness someone's death." We stuck to the smaller trails and smaller rocks. Still, it felt good to be outside like that, and away from buildings and the crowds and pollution. I know most people have difficulty believing it, but I love the outdoors. That's not to say that I'd love to go camping for two weeks with no face wash or razor to shave my legs and no other option but to poo in a hole. However, I love nature. I love trees. I love seeing places that seem hardly touched by people. Growing up surrounded by 8 acres of forest somewhat spoiled me, especially now that I'm stranded (well, not so much) in Orange County. That said, it felt so good to do a bit of hiking with the hubby, and be able to take a true breath of fresh air.

(The photo at the beginning of the entry is one Jay took of me after we climbed high enough to overlook everything. I love it.)

After spending a few hours there, we drove over near Palm Springs, where they have an aerial tramway. Don't know what that is? Well, it's basically a huge, circular, gondola-type thing that starts at the bottom of a mountain and takes you up two miles of cables to the top of a mountain. Oh, and I should probably mention that the bottom of this tram revolves while you're in it so you get a full panoramic view while traveling to the top. It seemed all fine and dandy until we bought the tickets and were watching the tramway in action. We were watching it and thinking, "Um, it kind of looks like there are alot of people packed into it." Yeah, the brochure said that they put 80 people in per tram. I'm sorry, 80? Seriously? In Jay's words:

"It's like Auschwitz all over again."

When it was our turn, I was fighting a panic attack (hello, claustrophobia), but then we realized that they didn't seem to fill to capacity. Which was good. When we started ascending, we were all standing and leaning against the windows. The bottom of the tram started turning, which was a little awkward, because we were all leaning on the windows (which were staying in place) but standing on the revolving floor (which was, well, revolving). But then you figure: okay, don't lean against the windows and you can keep your balance.

Yeah, not the guy next to me.

This old Japanese man was holding onto the railing while the base was moving. Which made him lean into us. Then he was across me and halfway to Jay. I kept trying to politely nudge him so he'd know that he was basically smooshed across me, heading for the floor if he wasn't careful, and needed to seriously figure out the situation at hand. As soon as humanly possible. He was basically horizontal before he seemed to realize that he needed to move his hands along the railing while the base of the tram was moving. It wouldn't have been an issue if he had just been a nice old man and smiled contritely or something. But, no. He kept giving Jay and I this expressionless look of pure: "You are ruining my tram ride. Stop it." And I gave him a look right back that said: "Um, sir, actually you're ruining my tram ride, and it's not like it was our wild idea to make the base of this tram move, anyway. Get out of my bubble."

But I tell you, Jay's impression of that man will keep me laughing for days.

Once we got to the top, the sun was already setting, so we walked around in the icy snow for a little while. It felt good to be freezing. I'm not sure why, but it did. That's how winter is supposed to feel, I guess, so it was nice. We took the tramway back down, which was ten times as scary, and ten times as fast (well, not really, but it totally felt like it). We survived. It was too much fun.

It was an absolutely perfect day. Even when we got lost driving home, and went an hour in the wrong direction, we were still in a good mood. Once we were headed in the right direction, Jay put his arm around me and told me, "Well, I'm glad I'm with you." It made me swell with happiness.

What a perfect way to start the new year.

8 comments :

  1. A beautiful photo for sure, but what a wonderful day! Sometimes it is so nice to get away from the huslte and bustle and just spend quality time!

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  2. Gah! That sounds like such a nice time, I'm so jealous! I'd much rather stay in and be lazy with the beau than go out and be sociable. Does that make me seem really old?

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  3. Oh yeah!! Sounds like a wonderful trip - crazy old man and all.

    Did you use a filter on the pic? It looks great.

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  4. That is a beautiful photos. And it sounds like you such an amazing time.
    And I prefer a lazy day at home too =)

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  5. Thats a great photo he took! Sounds like you both had the perfect New years day...minus the tram ride.

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  6. Aw, that sounds like the perfect day! I love hiking and the outdoors too, but yeah, not really into roughin' it for too long...

    And by the way, you are a really good storyteller, I love it. :)

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