Look, I'll be the first one to say it. OK. I am not an athletic or outdoorsy person. I am more of what you might call an "indoorsy" gal. Hands down. No questions asked. I would have been the first to die in the Hunger Games. Even still, I am not in some sort of Fitness Protection Program. I like cycling, yoga, etc. I do work out often actually... indoors. But, my favorite outdoor activity is going back inside. To me, indoor physical activity and outdoor strenuous activity are two different animals especially when you factor in outside elements, like randomly placed boulders.
I've talked before about my lack of interest in things like hiking or camping. I mean people in a sleeping bag... hello... come on... thats just a soft taco to a bear. No thank you. That is not how I want to go. Even still, here is my dilemma. I love a good vista. And, the best views and the most inspiring experiences often require a hike to the top. And, once I am there, I am glad I did it. I do feel strong. I get why people hike. I want to love to hike too. I just love to not hike more.
I live in Los Angeles, and I look out over the hills every day from my windows. And, this has made me curious. Could I be an outdoorsy person? Could I be a hiker? I needed to answer these questions for myself so I asked my best gal pal to join me at Griffith Park for a fun girl time sunset hike. Everything was going great for me. I was dressed, out the door, and on time. More importantly, I hadn't forgotten anything. I was prepared with a backpack full of water and allergy pills and even a book of matches just in case. Trust me, I am not always this organized so this was a good position for me to be in at the start of the hike.
The beginning started out like any other... it was easy. We talked and shared stories about our lives and engaged in deep and meaningful conversations as we always tend to do. This particular girlfriend has taught me the meaning of opening up so I was doing just that. I was feeling inspired by our chats so much so that the hike was moving along quite quickly, and I had forgotten that I was in fact still rather exposed to the elements.
Before I knew it, we had made it to the top of the peak just in time for sunset. Being that it was Griffith Park, there were quite a few people and tourists at the lookout. Families were having picnics and dozens of instagrammers were taking their "posed" photos. My girlfriend and I opted to keep the experience more intimate. We stood at the top for a while and just took in the beauty of the views while watching the sun pass behind the mountain ridge. It was about this moment that I felt confident and thought to myself, "You know. I made it to the top with little effort. Damn, maybe I AM a good hiker."
Anyway, as the sun was setting, I knew that this would be our last chance to get a quick photo of our unplanned matching "plant pant" outfits. I thought we looked ridiculous and hilarious. I wanted a photo for my fridge which has become a catalogue of my favorite private moments with friends and the intimate photos that don't get shared everywhere. I took out my small digital camera from my backpack with the intention of quickly checking the settings before asking someone to snap a photo of us together.
I took not even one full step backward; and, that is the exact moment in which I officially lost whatever dignity I had left in my life. In front of EVERYONE, I stumbled loudly and not so gracefully smack dab onto a massive boulder. All I remember was seeing the skyline, then my friend bent over laughing, then the top of the hills, and then the clouds as my head fell backwards. And, all I was thinking was "No. No. No. This is not happening." But, sadly, it was very much happening.
I heard a collective gasp from the sunset crowd as I started to fall on to the rock. And, somewhere in the midst of it all, I slammed my elbow down onto the boulder forcing me to release my camera. That was the only other thing I remembered... the sound of my camera hitting the boulder and then the ground again and again until it stopped rolling underneath a picnic table of a family trying to enjoy a little sunset dinner.
It took me a few beats to even realize, nevertheless accept, that I was now splayed out on top of a large rock in front of everyone. My girlfriend was bent over laughing with tears pouring down her face. In that moment, even plastered in an awkward position on top of a boulder, I have never loved her more. Because, if I am being honest, I would have had the same exact reaction to her falling. The entire thing was pretty hilarious.
In the middle of my shock and horror at my current situation, a kind man rushed over to help me. He was convinced I had broken something. He was gripping me and making sure that I could stand. The first words out of my mouth were: "Is my camera ok?" The man looked at me puzzled and said "Is the camera ok? What? No, are you ok? Are you hurt?" My response was "Sir, the answers to those questions completely depend on if my camera is ok."
Just then, my girlfriend walked up to us with a beat up camera. I surveyed the damage and took it all in. Then, once assessing that despite cosmetic damage the camera was still working, I started to look around at all of my injuries. I was beat up pretty badly, but nothing was broken other than my now dashed dreams of becoming a professional hiker. I looked up at my girlfriend and said under my breath. "Girl, we have GOT to go and never come back."
Because of where I fell, we were still standing in front of everyone facing the sunset. There is little doubt in my mind that someone caught that fall in a photo or video. We were both laughing and crying so hard but trying desperately not to make more of a scene. We weren't quite sure how to recover, but it was clear that we couldn't stay there. I had to get out of there so we walked a few hundred yards to a quiet bench to reasses our lives.
My first initial reaction was: "OMG, can you imagine if I had had to be helicoptered off the mountain?" She replied, "Well, I have always wanted to take a helicopter ride. And, it would have been a much better ending to the story rather the truth which is that we put our heads down and walked away embarrassed to a bench as far away from the sunset crowd as possible." I couldn't help but burst out laughing. She couldn't have been more right. What had just happened was embarrassing, humiliating even. But, now, in the aftermath of it all, I was going to have to limp it out down the mountain. Awesome.
We sat there in tears laughing together and retelling the story to each other. We could not get over what had just taken place. Once we regained our composures, I took out my phone and filmed us reminiscing on the previous events. We needed to document this moment for ourselves, and I needed to remind myself why I should just accept that outdoor strenuous activity is, in fact, not my thing. I don't 100% know what my thing is. But, I do know that hiking is most definitely NOT it. My favorite thing about hiking is when I don't. From now on, I will be brave and be "outdoorsy" in a "sleeping with the windows open" or "drinking outside on my rooftop during a high pollen count" kind of a way.
Here is one of the most embarrassing moments of my life told by my best gal pal and me: