John: OK, we’re 35 minutes in. Should we turn around?
Shelley: No. It won’t be any fun back tracking on the same route. Let’s hike down that gully, then cut back to the truck.
John: I don’t see a trail.
Shelley: We don’t need a trail. Come on. It’ll be an adventure.
John: (Mumbling, but starting down the slope) Why can’t staying on the trail be enough of an adventure?
Shelley: Whoo! Heee! It’s a bit slippery. Mind your step. Look at us. We’re going where man has never gone before. Do you hear that? That’s a firing range. Good thing I have this bright top on. Don’t want to get shot. Right? Do you see those 3 vultures? Keep flying. No food here. Careful! Loose rocks. I wonder if we’ll finally get to see a snake. I have my orange peels. Oh! Ha! Ha! Ha! Get it? ( In an attempt to get the perfect picture of a snake, my mother has thrown orange peels at one so it would coil. Read here. ) Look at that dead cactus. Kind of creepy don’t you think?
There’s a perfect saguaro cactus. Take my picture. Take my picture.
John: Got it. Owwww! A cactus is stuck into my ankle. @#$%!! I can’t get it off. @#$%! It rolled over. It dug in further. Owwww!! Are you @#$%ING kidding me? There’s three on my elbow. @#$%! @#$%! @#$%!
Shelley: Hold still. I’ve got my knife. OK. OK. OK. OK. OK. They’re off. All good?
Shelley: You’re sure?
John: I’m fine.
Shelley: I bet we’ll laugh at this tomorrow. If we take our time and keep an eye out for those suckers, everything should be… YEEEEOUCCCCHHHHH!!!! Mother @#$%ER!!! The top of that cactus jumped onto my finger. I hardly touched it. YEEEOOOOWWWW!! Get off me, you little son of a @#$%^!!!
Shelley: Maybe we should turn around?
John: No. We’ve almost reached the bottom. And I’m not walking through that forest of cactus needles again. Let’s go.
Shelley: Hey. Hey John. Hey! Wait up. You’re not mad at me, right? Because it’s not really my fault we went off trail. If you’re going to be mad at anyone, you should be mad at my parents.
Think about it. They raised me to ignore signs that said,
“Do not Enter” or
“No Trespassing” or
“Road is not Serviced” or
“Enter at Your Own Risk”
Those signs were like red flags to my family. Those signs were meant for everyone but us. Why I remember this one time when all 6 of us spent the entire night stuck in a marsh in our little red volskwagon station wagon. No one slept. Too hot. Too crowded. And way too many mosquitoes. All because dad drove past a “Do not enter” sign. And this other time, on Mt. Revelstoke, dad sent me back to the house for an axe so he could hack out the tree trunk the car was bottomed out on. He even timed me. Said I was the fastest runner out of all four of us kids.
And this other time…
John: Stop. I’ve heard enough. I’m not mad. I’m scared.
Shelley: What? Why?
John: In less than a week, we’ll be meeting up with your parents.
Shelley and John
And John’s favourite podcast, five live Football Daily, so he can follow his beloved Manchester United team.