Part 1: Nature is great. And stupid. But mostly stupid.

I’m at a coffee shop completely eavesdropping on a conversation between two gray-haired ladies.  They’re talking about their next vacation.  I’m convinced they’d be a good time, because their first suggestion was Cuba.  I don’t know much about Cuba, but I imagine people go there to party and sweat and get danced up on.  So I’m currently imagining them giggling over umbrella drinks while smoking fat cigars.  (Because that’s the other thing I know about Cuba.)  I also know that cocaine and drug trafficking is associated with this place.  But in the absolutely normal daydream I’m having about strangers right now, they don’t partake.  Because they act like ladies.

Anyway, enough about them, more about me.  (I  mean that playfully, but also, I do have a blog.  I am that douche that talks about themselves, and I apologize for that ahead of time.)  The actual purpose of this post is to tell you about yesterday.  I spontaneously decided to go on a day trip.  The leaves have started changing colors and I live in Colorado.  So duh.  I had no idea where I was headed, although some friends made suggestions and gave me general directions.  I knew I was setting myself up for disaster because 1.  I have no service or access to maps in that area.  2.  My sense of direction does not exist.  Someone told me once that if I was headed towards mountains I was headed west.  And so, I wanted to drive west.  Somehow, said mountains were behind me immediately.   I kept heading east thinking eventually I’d take a killer curve that put them back in front of me, but not so much.  I turned around and decided to ask for directions at the gas station.  When I was filled up and informed in a sweet, quiet voice that “Ma’am, you have lipstick on your big tooth”, I headed towards Victor, Colorado.

I’m not sure if you know this, but not only is taking pictures while driving a challenge, but it’s also frowned upon.  When I came across Mueller State Park, I opted to pop in.  Maybe save a few lives.  I wasn’t committing to this plan until the old and [quite honestly] butchy  park ranger lady intensely told me about the 55 miles of hiking trails/campground.  As she did this she highlighted numbered lines in pink and pointed and circled things like a coach at halftime.  I couldn’t read the map or understand a word she said, but I nodded and exclaimed my most excited-sounding “cool!”‘s in response to everything.  I finally paid the $7 when my joke about wishing I had brought my boy scout boots failed.  I’m pretty sure she was certain she sent me into the park with a plan.  Bless her.  The one thing I felt confident in was finding my way to the Visitor’s Center (because there were signs and arrows).  I parked my car there and headed to an overlook pavilion thing.  I stared and took pictures and realized that I was at the entrance of a few different hiking trails.  Don’t be confused.  I wouldn’t have even hiked if I had boots.  I’m not the most active of people.  But if I wanted to get pictures of the golden Aspens, I would need to be one with the trees.  I went back to grab my map and headphones, thinking I’d make this a super deep and reflective time.  It wasn’t until I was in the middle of the woods in sandals, holding the map upside down that I realized I was an idiot.  One section of the map was dedicated to “What to do if you encounter a black bear…”.  Not only did this section exist, but it was more than unhelpful.  It was shitty.  It told me not to chase them for photos and gave a recommendation of which lens to use, but none of it was equipping me with a strategy if I found myself face to face with something growling at me.  I was super alone.  In the woods.  And from here on out, everything was a bear.  Or a snake.  (Do they even have snakes in Colorado?  Don’t care.)  I was terrified and walked slowly, studying every bear-sized boulder or snake-like stick I could see ahead of me or within my peripheral.  It was ridiculous.  If you know anything about me, you know that my imagination will always take my head to the worse-case scenario.  I’m an optimist until it comes to nature.  F nature.  It’s unpredictable.  And I WOULD be the girl you hear about in the news found naked and snake bitten.  (Evidence points to a bear pushing her off a cliff.)  Thankfully, I heard voices a little ways up on the trail.  I sped up to be nearer a family in case a mauling situation arose.  At least there would be witnesses.  When they stopped, I stopped.  I’d act like I was taking a picture or admiring the sights.  Really, I was straight creepin’ up on them.  When I began to worry I was making them uncomfortable, I took off in a power walk towards what I thought was my car.  A few wrong turns and what seemed like forever later, I was safe again.  Momentarily.  I decided I’d drive up the  road a little more to get my $7 worth.  It was here I came upon what looked like legit restroom facilities.  And thank goodness.  I was ready to piss myself.  As soon as I was locked in this room and lifted the toilet seat, it dawned on me that this was just a fancy porta-potty.  I don’t even know if I can communicate to you the fear I still harbor from this experience.  You think the woods scared me?  Ask me to find the courage to hover bare-assed over what is basically a toilet seat placed on top of a hole dug in the ground.  First of all, there is no telling what could crawl up out of there. Second, I’m certain I heard something moving and alive.  I psyched myself up for a short tinkle and busted out of there.  Just not worth it.  It was then I decided it was time to leave Mueller State Park.  The following are pictures that make this experience look grand.  However, now you know the rest of the story.

Once I was traumatized enough, I got back on the road.  Much more occurred.  Stay tuned for Part 2:  Victor, Colorado – a great place to film a horror movie.  Or take your bridal portraits.

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