Sunday, August 28, 2011

Table Rock...The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Friday Howie took the day off work.
He's been saying all summer long that he wanted to go on a hike.
He LOVES the Teton Mountain Range and all things associated with it.
Hiking to Table Rock is his favorite.

Being the awesome wife that I am, I offered to go.
We got up early Friday and drove an hour and we were hiking.

So here are the facts:
-Table Rock is over 11,000 feet in elevation.
-You start at about 7,000 feet. (That's an elevation gain of over 4000 feet.)
-I'm old. (53)
-I'm outta shape.
-I'm 30...OK 40 pounds overweight.
-It's over 11 miles round trip.
(Did I mention over 11,000 feet elevation?)

Howie really wanted me to experience Table Rock.
I've never been there.

We had been hiking for about 10 minutes.
I ask..."Is this Table Rock?"
He shakes his head, does a double-eye rollover and we continue.
The scenery was beautiful.
"Are we there yet?"

I sorta expected to have Hawkeye or Chingachgook coming running through any second chasing a deer or something. It was so James Fennimore Cooperish.
The forest smelled so crisp.
"Are we there yet?"
We had to cross 4 streams.
I couldn't stand to be on the logs or the rocks to cross the water.
I got so dizzy watching the water rushing by, so I just walked through the water.
(I had dry socks thankfully.)
Interesting rock cairns along the way.
Apparently they are there to let you know you are on the trail.
No Forest Service signs for this place.

We snacked and drank lots of water.
We stopped occasionally for me to rest.
"Are we there yet?"
Howie ended up carrying both backpacks.
"Sorry honey".
I was feeling overwhelmed after about 3 hours of the trails.
If you could call them trails...
more like trials.
I'm thinking....who does this for fun?

It was work.
I was pretty angry with myself for being overweight
and out of shape.
But I was excited to be able to say I've been to Table Rock!

Howie was so patient.
There were a few others on the trail, but mostly it was just the two of us.

All the time we're climbing I'm thinking....
-Where can the rescue helicopter land?
-I wonder if we have cell service to call 911?
-What is the number to 911?
-What was I thinking?

After 6 hours we came to this little waterfall.
We were maybe two miles from being on Table Rock.
Up until that point we were climbing up and I wasn't looking back.
Then we hit a switchback and we're walking parallel
on the mountain.

We got to just below the snow line at the very top of the picture.
You can see where there is a rock outcropping.
I made the mistake of looking around.
Looking down...
at where we had been.
I grabbed onto the rock and sank to my knees.

I couldn't breath.
I couldn't swallow.
I was sobbing.
I was terrified.
I've never experienced anything like this ever!
I knew I wasn't being rational.
In my right mind I knew I wouldn't fall off the mountain but I couldn't let go.

I knew I was afraid of heights but had no idea how badly.

Howie talked quietly with me until I was able to calm down.
I asked if this was the only steep part.

I thought maybe I could go just keep going.
"Sheesh Tauna, suck it up!"
He said no, this is just the beginning.
I tried walking going forward again.
But no.
Same thing.
I couldn't couldn't breath.
Couldn't swallow.
I couldn't let go of the rock wall I was hanging onto.

He knew that we would go no further.
(He was probably wondering what the number to 911 was too!)

So we turned around.

We were this close.
The Grand is the tall middle mountain peak and Table Rock is the flat outcropping on the right.

Howie took this picture as we turned to go back.
He tried to get me to look up at it, but the "falling" feeling continued.
I could only look at the rock I was hanging onto.
It took about a mile of looking down and just watching my feet before this sensation passed.
I had a hard time controlling my emotions because I was incredibly disappointed in myself.
Howie was just great. He kept saying that he was just happy to be able to spend the day with me.

I know thousands of people do this every year and I have friends that this is a walk in the park for them.
But I'm not one of them.
I know that I'll never do Table Rock.

It wouldn't matter if I was 10 years younger or 40 pounds lighter or in marthon shape.
That mountain would still be WAY UP!
And apparently...
I don't do UP.
I looked back up and Howie snapped a picture of that rock outcropping.
I knew that was my limit.
It seems pretty insignificant looking up at it.
I'm embarassed at such a weakness.

This is the view I didn't see.
This is the view standing on top of Table Rock.
I took this off Google images.

It was pretty sobering for me.
I thought I was pretty tough.
Not so.
I fought the "ROCK" and the ROCK won.

It was a long 10 hour hike.
Howie carried two backpacks.
AND helped someone change a flat tire on our way home.
(Did I get a winner or did I get a winner!)

But in the end....
I tried something I'd never done before.
Ya, I was a quitter...
But that's OK.
And he didn't leave me on the mountain.


~Wyatt~Brittney~Brecken~Oliver~ said...

Yes it is okay! Way to go! You are a rockstar!

Kim said...

You definately got a winner! I am so proud of you and you will never forget this day. It reminds me of the C+ I got in Microbiology, after 18 years away from school, it's the first class I decided to take and it was the most rewarding.

Congrats. Love you

Cherie said...

You did great Tauna - trying something is half the battle!!
That was a long hike and you got to do it with your sweetheart.
What a great guy and a loving husband.
I love the picture of the two of you and I'm glad you were able to spend the day together.

just call me jo said...

I think you are a trooper. The top of table rock makes me dizzy just looking at the pics. Your husband loves you. He really loves you. Not all of us are mtn. climber. I think you did good to make it as far as you did. It's "the climb" not reaching the top.

blueviolet said...

Yes, it's ok. You tried, and you did pretty darn well, I think. Howie was so wonderful and supportive. What a guy!!!

Man oh man, is it ever beautiful out there, by the way!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

I am very impressed. You did great! That's a very far and very high hike. Beautiful scenery!

Lesa said...

Yes, it is okay! I don't know that I even would have agreed to go, so good for you for doing it. You are a cute couple!

Furry Bottoms said...

You're definitely a rockstar!!! And your Howie is a gem.

You tried, you made it as far as you did. THAT is an accomplishment in my book. I can't even walk ONE MILE without huffing and puffing. That is pathetic. What you did see on the hike was beautiful!

Connie said...

You are such a trooper. I don't think I would have made it even half as far as you did. I am 53 also and have far more poundage on my behind so I am in total awe of you. The pictures are amazing.

Jenny P. said...

11 miles is a serious hike... no matter your experience level! You should be proud of making it as far as you did. And your husband? He sounds awesome. :)

Yvonne said...

I think you are wonderful. And your hubby is definitely a winner and a keeper.

Doing hard things is, well, HARD.

Love the pictures, especially the one of the two of you. So very sweet.

I loved the "where will the helicopter land"--I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks things like that ; )

ain't for city gals said...

Girl..that was some hike...especially for someone that is not used to it...were you able to walk the next day??...I try to stay in shape jogging but a 10 mile hike has done me in many a time...p.s. I so get the labeling hubby makes me say his name 3 times a day just to make sure I don't forget!

Kimmie said...

I am SO happy to finally read about your Table Rock adventure!! Tracy kept telling me about your status updates. I kept telling Tracy, I wished I could have been there to cheer Tauna on and help her up the mountain!

It breaks my heart thinking of your anxiety and to think you were SO close, but hey, YOU ARE AMAZING!! That last mile is about 1,000 feet of elevation gain and it is pretty treacherous. Table Rock is on our list of hikes to hike. I have been at the top of Hurricane Pass which is about 700 feet lower than Table Rock.

I think you should have at least taken your photo with the view of the Tetons in the background to at least show you were up would have been an awesome Christmas card photo.

I'm just SO proud of you that you tried it and that you got to be out with your hubby enjoying the gorgeous country together. I bet Howie was SO thrilled for you to experience the hike with him.

Don't ever feel badly...we all have our own fears and anxieties and for being 50 years old and not in the best shape and putting on your hiking duds and heading out to hike, I think you are amazing.

Isn't the country you see while hiking that area just absolutely gorgeous? I never tire of hiking that mountain range. You can probably see, why we continue to go back there every year.

Hope you have recovered, LOVE all of your photos and WOW, is Howie ever a winner for a hubby...but then YOU are definitely a winner of a wife for him as well!! You're such a cuter couple and you are truly one of the sweetest people I know!!

Happy week!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

You were not a quitter!! We have been going to Mammoth Lakes for 18 years now. I use to hike all the time. I'm almost 60 and haven't hiked in about six years. My COPD is worse and I'm okay with that now. I think what you did do was amazing. It is only really die hard hikers who can hike like that.
Your pictures are beautiful. Yes you definitely have a winnder.

gigi said...

I held my breath as I read this post! I am really sorry about your anxiety and fear of heights. When an anxiety attack hits you just have no controll over it and you just feel like you are gonna die right there! I'm so glad that you didn't :) But like Howie said. look at all the time you got to spend together out iin the open fresh air and really look how far up you went!! I think you did an amazing job. Howie is as wonderful as you are!
Love ya.

lifeinredshoes said...

The last time I teied a stunt like this, an 80 year old German woman passed me almost skipping!
Good for you for trying, now pass the chocolate ;)

Leontien said...

Ohhh sweetie!!! Your NOT A QUITTER!!!
your my hero!

I KNOW that feeling! been there done that...

I think it is amazing you went the whole day with your hubby and plowed true it!

You did good! and yes your hubby is a winner too

MZ said...

You made the right choice. The top gets pretty wicked. If you ever do want to try again I would go with you.

Tracy Smith said...

Jade wanted me to read this post to him. Reading it out-loud brought tears to my eyes.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh wow, you. are. my. hero. Seriously.

I tried hiking mount timp. once. Worst experience ever!

Connie said...

You have an awesome husband! You are magnificent to have hiked as far and as long as you did! So what if you didn't go all the way to Table Rock and take a picture of the view, that's what Google images are for!

I admire you even more now than I did before I read this post. And believe me sistah, I have always admired you!

Camille said...

impressive! 10 hrs on a hike?? and all uphill? you did pretty dang good Miss!!

LKP said...

"oh nay nay! i don't do ups!" i couldn't resist. seriously, it kept repeating in my head (you've gotta see this clip: "gravitiy is a law. i obey the law!" i love you, chicky. i'm proud of you! ::hugs::

tammy said...

I was panicking for you just reading this. Not a good place to discover you don't do ups. But I did giggle when you first said you were looking for places for a helicopter to land to take you out of there. Reminded me when Luvpilot first took me up in a small airplane and I got so sick I was looking for anywhere for him to land and let me out!

Vern said...

This is the 2nd post today I have read about hiking to Table Rock! What are the odds? As for calling yourself a quitter I say that's unacceptable - you're just a little...Table Rock challenged.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sweet Tauna I would not call you a quitter at all. You made it up much higher than I would have. I don't do heights at all period! I get dizzy and everything starts spinning if I am a foot off the ground. I admire you for going as far as you did and that was a long hike. I would have sat down on the first big rock and stayed there until all who were with me came back down from that high place. :) Big hugs! You did GREAT!!!

Only Girl said...

hey you tried thats what counts. im proud of you. we all have our own things we do and thats what makes this world go round. cause if i was a nurse i would be in tears everyday. and you rock at it so its all good. i think u are an amazing person and you crack me up. your great therapy and i bet u had no idea!!!!

Laura said...

Hey, I don't do heights either. I get that weird falling feeling when I climb up on a ladder a few feet! You did great just hiking that far... That's a pretty big feat!

M-Cat said...

Oh friend! I understand the panic and anxiety. Please don't call yourself a quitter. Instead you are wise to your limits.

The area looks gorgeous but my knees hurt just thinking of having to climb back down.

I'm proud of you for taking it on!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Good Grief honey I got motion sickness sitting here on the couch! How in the world you made it as far and I mean far as you went is a durn miracle. It's not like you guys were taking a walk. I am mad at you thinking your a quitter. My gosh sweetie your a huge winner in my book. Just agreeing to do this for number one is a winner but no you climbed and climbed all that way and did a great job and the pictures you captured are incredible.
I am so very proud of you. You did great.
Now I have to take something for I swear some of these pictures made me dizzy. hahahaha
I have to tell you a secret hope no one else reads this.
I can so relate to what you said I am Old I am 53. That is exactly the words I used when I found my ex with his girlfriend. Now I think back and think why did I think 53 is old. Gosh thats young and you start thinking of yourself as young. Your a beautiful young wife, mother and friend to a lot of us. I love you dearly

wendy said...

Oh my gosh Tauna, you are so damn funny....and yes I said damn cause I wanted to be emphatic.

I THINK the number to 911 is

On on of my posts I'll have to tell about the time I hiked up Old Chief Mountain.......and it is only about 5 feet across the top and I couldn't walk it either. I was scarred to death.

BUT did not fail. Look at what you accomplished. I would have been dead after a couple of hours of hiking........and you did, WHAT 10????? I hold you in esteem my dear friend.

HA HA, loved the reference to Last of the Mohicans. (the movie, I didn't read the book, gosh)

I would have been looking for Daniel Day Lewis (was that who it was???) to come bounding out with his loin cloth flapping in the air.....and seeing if I could catch, well....a glimpse.

Now that's a good reason to go hiking.

and you accomplished something you'd never done before....and probably LOST those 40 lbs (not believing it girlfriend, that you need to)

so ARE WE THERE YET.....yes you were, YES you were.
Not totally THERE....but there enough

I salute you. You might want to wear an arm band next time with the # for 911 on it. just saying
love you

Queenie Jeannie said...

Well, I would have NEVER even attempted that, so bravo to you, my dear!!!! Hiking, running, biking, camping...just so not my cup of tea at all. I guess I'm just not the woodsy type.

Sorry you got scared but I'm so happy you have such an awesome husband!! I think you did great, so don't beat yourself up over it, OK?? Big hugs!

Valerie said...

Table Rock has been on my "adult" bucket list for several years, but we never found the time to get up there. Now I'm too out of shape. I climbed it when I was In high school, when I was stupid and didn't appreciate the accomplishment. And I so want to appreciate it!! (I know someone from Teton who climbs it several times a month, for her exercise. She has gotten to the top in 1.5 hours before. Its amazing to me.)

Howie is definitely a keeper! What a supportive, kind husband! I'm glad you saw most of the trail. That is a HUGE accomplishment!! Way to go!!

Life is good! said...

yea!!!! for you. howies got one heck of a wife also!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tauna, Wow! I am very proud of you and what a great hubby you have too! Incredible pictures.
I have a new blog. Hope you can visit when time allows. Have a great weekend. Mildred

Leontien said...

I still think you are the bomb!

and yes i did tell Dr Nala... thanks for the great advise!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I had to turn around on a hike a few years ago when I was almost there--I was frustrated too! But you did awesome! That's a tough hike.

I did it with my mountainous roommates in college at the end of October--terrible idea! We made it, but we hit a blizzard at the top. My roommates were wearing shorts so we had to take a quicker way down, off the path!

It was dark and we heard several bear growls on our way back. Definitely one of my most scary experiences. Beautiful, but I don't think I'll make that hike again. :)

Valerie said...

That is a really long, uphill hike! Congrats for getting as far as you did. All those photos of the scenery are beautiful and love that you went together. :)