I've been thinking of my own Nancy stories for weeks, of course, and here is a good one that includes pictures. Nancy and I went camping a few times in the summer of 2005, and in September, she was ready and willing to try backpacking with me. So one lovely clear Saturday morning, we headed for my favorite backpacking site in Portola Redwoods State Park, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It's a nice drive, we have brunch on the way, get to the park, and spend a few minutes putting on our boots, getting our packs nicely adjusted, and we walk about a half mile to the trail head.
The first part of the hike is a 600-foot climb that takes about 35 minutes. I think we are about 3 minutes on the uphill trail when Nancy starts complaining. The first picture below is taken about ten minutes in, when she is starting to really bitch. Pretty soon she's telling me that "this is worst idea you've ever had", "this is just a forest, what's so special", "I hate this", and then the abuse really starts. I'm reminding her that the climb is all at the beginning, I'm carrying all the heavy stuff, that we will be up at the top in fifteen minutes, etc. etc. We are both out of breath, she is as angry as she ever gets, we're getting deep into a fight...when we reach the top and sit on a log for a few minutes to drink water and catch our breath. She is still pissed, and I have to talk her into continuing, when we put our packs back on, and start the hour-long stroll along the ridge through a stunning, pristine redwood forest.
It's silent as we walk. After about ten minutes, she stops and turns around and says, "this is really beautiful". After another half hour, she apologizes for all the things she said. The second photo shows our camp site, before I put dinner together. We have the entire forest to ourselves. That night, as we're snuggling into our zipped-together sleeping bags, after a meal of steaks, red wine and all the trimmings, she admitted to me that this was a wonderful trip, and she is having one of the best times of her life.
With her, I learned how much fun it is to be spontaneous, and to this day, spontaneous adventure is one of my favorite things.