Take a Hike

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Sharon Woods: Winter Hike Series

This weekend Ohio decided that it was winter. Weather apps flashed scary red triangles. Everyone ran to the grocery store Friday night. Life went on.

By hiking time Saturday morning, it was cold; but the snow was only a constant dusting slowly accumulating into something bigger. I had thought that the temperature drop and the threat of snow might weed out the hikers, but I still had to park .6 mile (yes, I measured when I drove out) away from the starting point. I definitely got three plus miles in walking.

I used Saturday’s hike as an opportunity to test drive my winter hiking fashion find. The good people at Zulily.com swear it’s a dress, and on their stick thin models I was willing to believe that claim. On me, it’s a glorified Snuggie and I love it. Hooded, giant kangaroo pocket, and maxi length with slits up the side just in case I really want to put on dress boots and pretend I’m dressed for work. It’s also a million percent polyester, so it just generates its own heat. This “dress” completely solved the problem where everything covered by my coat is warm, but the wind still blows up under the back side of the coat, chilling my butt. I assure you my booty was toasty.

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Bittersweet

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Saturday’s hike ended with a cup of bean soup and a cornbread muffin. It’s a simple thing but the treat at the end of each hike is gratifying. The volunteers and rangers are helpful and happy, and there’s usually a fire to cuddle around. I took a hot chocolate for my hike back to my car.

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Prairie Oaks Metro Park

By today, Sunday, the snow really did come in as predicted. I think we got about 4-5 inches. However, the roads were clear for the afternoon hike, and the park was packed with people. The most evident non-human life were the geese in the middle of the lake yelling about all the dogs on the walk, and some vibrant lichen on a bridge.

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I don’t know how to ski, but I suspect that cross country skis would have been really handy today. Even before the 2 o’clock start time, the snow on the paths was solidly packed and slick. I spent my alleged 3 miles (I think it was longer) slipping, penguin walking in little shuffles, and trying to jump into unpacked snow on the sides without also slipping into a lake.

It was a hungry, cold relief to make it to the end. The Prairie Oaks hike always makes a really thick chicken noodle soup, and from the looks of the crock pots, Adventure Buddy and I got the last two steaming, glorious cups.

Only 10 more hikes to go.

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Resolutions: Birdie

Today was the first winter hike if mud, standing water, and 48 degrees means winter. Last year during this hike, it was so cold my phone shut off. The warm weather brought EVERYONE out. It was kind of a shoulder to shoulder hike in the woods.

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Today was also National Bird Day. Avian awareness, y’all! I told the Evil Bird that it was National Bird Day. And she was like “Of course it is!”

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No, no, I saw feathered birds. Some chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmouse, downy woodpeckers, and red bellied woodpeckers. Birdie is actually named Birdie because of her woodpecker-like chirps.

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To quote Bill the Cat, “THHHBBBPPPPTTTT!”

Anyway… she resolves to continue to give everyone shit, and to continue her love affair with my comforter.

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You’re Gonna Freeze Your Balls Off…

It feels like it has been a while since we had to contend with negative wind chill temperatures and actual accumulations of snow. Olivia Wigglebothum brought the Polar Vortex in 2014 which was exciting. However last winter was so mild that my parsley overwintered. Fucking parsley.

This winter, I have to figure out how to dress like I’m harnessing my cat sled team for tundra travel, but spending the majority of my day inside at work looking “professional.” Mostly I want to go into hibernation mode. According to people who live in REALLY cold areas, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and Ohioans should figure out how to dress for the weather and get over it. I feel like these people don’t get punched in the crotch enough.

Because I seem to advocate for crotch punching and profanity, a friend shared this app with me: What The Forecast?!! I set it on “obscene” and proceeded to share my forecast and freezing giggles with everyone. It was free fun!img_3906

The same friend and I signed on for our metro parks‘ winter hikes series. We did it last year, but last year was parsley-growing mild! What seemed like a good idea a month or two ago now seemed like a bad dare when Saturday morning’s forecast looked like this:

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I sent her this forecast hoping she’d call my bluff and suggest that yes, we would be incredibly stupid to go for a hike in the woods. Even if there was soup at the end.

Unfortunately, we know that, unlike hibernating bears, we are not living off our body fat so much as adding to it during the winter. So we layered up like the little brother from A Christmas Story and chose the two mile option for the first hike of the season.

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It was so cold that my phone died.

Given, I did have Pokemon Go open (we were in a metro park there were balls to get!), was trying to take a photo, AND got a text message at that exact moment which was more than my phone could take. Solution: tuck it into my ample bosom to warm it up.

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Before my phone fainted from hypothermia.

It’s nice to be in the woods even if it is on a march with a hundred other people, and the sound of squeaking snow under boots is the equivalent of nails on chalkboard to me. Somehow I could still hear the birds, mostly blue jays, over the squeaking. Being among the trees is calming. It doesn’t take too much effort to find something beautiful in nature. Eventually, I got used to walking with my glasses frosted over.

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One of the perks of the winter hike series, besides getting some exercise, is the volunteers at the end. Each hike ends with volunteers serving hot cocoa, soup, and other treats. Last year, we practically had a full meal after one hike. This hike ended with veggie soup and a fire pit where it was comfortable enough to loosen up some of the layers. We learned last year that it is good etiquette make a small cash donation at the end of each hike, supporting the park programming. This time we signed on as “Friends of the Metro Parks.” Twelve more hikes to go!

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My “resting soup face.”

A new twist to this year’s hike series is donations to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. The parks are encouraging hikers to bring non-perishables and personal care items to each hike for the donation boxes. We’re all just a jar of peanut butter and tube of toothpaste away from helping out.

If you’re in the Central Ohio area freezing your balls or lady parts off, check out the hike series.

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Sheds delivered!

Spring break found me once again getting ready to tromp around the BF’s acreage in search of dead stuff or leftover bits of living stuff: sheds…deer antlers, y’all.

The look on the BF’s face at selfie time: “Damn it. NOT this happy shit AGAIN. Sonofabitch.” He’s so excited!!

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We saw evidence of deer in our adventures. Plenty of trails, hoof prints, rubs and poo, but no bony remnants. In fact, we didn’t even run across any other bits and pieces of any creatures!

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Evidence of deer

I peed three times on deer trails so I definitely left evidence of my presence. I assume the deer conversation will be something like, “Who is this magnificent creature who drinks so much coffee?”

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My “yea, I peed in your woods!” face.

Our finds revolved around interesting fungus more than anything else.

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According to FitBit 2.8 miles and 25 floors later, we were tired, cold and empty-handed. The day ended with convincing the local Domino’s to sell the BF a “take and bake” pizza. This is what happens when you live so far from civilization that pizza places won’t deliver and it is more efficient to cook it yourself given the drive time.

However while pizza places won’t always deliver, sometimes other entities will.

The lack of finds was disappointing, but it was a good walk in the woods, something that I don’t get to do often. Yet two days later, I got a text from MomBert that the neighbor’s dogs had made a special delivery to my sister’s yard.

A shed! In the sense that this particular deer shed its entire skull.

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My sister wanted the skull out of the yard before my nephew saw it. Otherwise he would want to hang it in his room. That kid knows how to decorate.

The skull is a bit juicy and smelly yet so it is currently wired to MomBert’s fence. Hopefully nature will clean out the tasty tidbits without dismantling anything.

Spring Break Extravaganza: Hunting for Sheds

Monday-Looking for Sheds

Because I already visited the available antique stores, my mom and I needed a different activity on Monday. Her BF lives out in the country and has access to several acres of wooded land so she proposed going out to tromp through the woods to look for sheds.

I felt like a dog when the owner says, “Let’s go for a walk.” So excited!  Spring and fall make want to be in the woods, but no one in my immediate circle of geographically convenient friends share those urges. Spring and fall means that they will spend most available daylight hours parked in front of a t.v. watching either basketball or football.

OMG!! Walk in the woods!! Squeeeee! (One of us is not thrilled.)

OMG!! Walk in the woods!! Squeeeee! (One of us is not thrilled.)

We met up with the BF at his house, donned layers of fluorescent orange gear, and headed out. The BF must have thought that we were on a major mission because he immediately proposed that “you girls” take the ridge by the pond while he went down by the creek as if we were working some type of flanking maneuver. I personally think that after the selfie, he was second guessing whether or not he wanted to be in the woods with us. Logically though, we would cover more ground in the search for sheds.

Starting in January, deer shed their antlers. Their testosterone drops since mating season is over; no need to have antlers to fight other males. They start rubbing their antlers against trees until the antlers fall/break off. Other forest creatures view the sheds as tasty bone flavored treats. New antlers start growing in the spring. The velvet on new antlers is actually tissue and blood vessels covering the growing bones. Rinse, repeat every year. So fucking weird.

I guess about as weird as us wandering around in the woods looking for them.

Bed and tracks

Bed and tracks

Mom and I took our assigned route and quickly started following a worn deer trail with deep hoof prints in the red mud. It makes sense to follow the web of deer trails because an antler could drop anywhere along the way. We came across several rubs where deer had worn the bark off of trees. We also dead ended in a deer bed. Grasses had been matted down in several spots inside a thicket and the ground was covered in deer hair.

Rubs

Rubs

We occasionally reconvened with the BF, got our new marching orders, and parted ways again. We were on the neighbor’s land. The BF said  that in addition to three deer stands and a deer crop circle, the neighbor probably has game cameras all over the place so he’ll be able to review our activities. He might get a little something special on one of his cameras because I peed in the woods. My trail now.

At one point, Mom and I were down in the hollow while the BF was up on the ridge. We were making our way up to him like graceful mountain goats, when he waved and held up a skull. Jackpot!

When we finally made it there to inspect his find, the shapes, sizes, and right-between-the-eyes bullet holes made it clear that these were not deer skulls. The BF said that the neighbors must have butchered pigs. These were pig remains.

Meanwhile, Mom and I were poking around, turning things over, and taking pictures. Mom had uncovered two long bones with sockets and was oohing and ahhhing over their weight and “artistic curves.” The BF was silently aghast.

Mom: (pre-horse realization) "These are so cool!"

Mom: (pre-horse realization) “These are so cool!”

Mom to BF: “Hey, do you have a bag in your jacket  so we can carry these back?!”

BF: “WHY would you want those?”

Me: “Why do we want random deer antlers?”

He mumbled something about possibly coming back later to get things then wandered away.

We continued to rummage through the leaves, and inspect the skulls. The smaller skull clearly had a snout shape and tusk-like teeth on the sides that the BF had pointed out when qualifying both skulls as pigs. However the other skull was over twice the size of the smaller skull, and did not have any tusk protrusions. Instead, it had  a row of huge square teeth up front.

Me to Mom who was still waving around her “artistic” bones: “I don’t think these are both pigs. Look at the shapes of the teeth.”

Mom: “It’s too big  for a deer and shaped wrong for a cow.”

Me (whispered): “I think it’s a horse.”

Mom: “Oh, the neighbors have pigs AND horses. Why didn’t he tell us that was a horse?”

Me: “That’s why he walked away.”

Mom, looking at “artistic” bones: “I don’t think I want to carry horse bones.”

The BF claimed ignorance of being able to identify horse skulls, but acknowledged that the neighbors had only pigs and horses on their property. We never found any sheds. I found a tiny set of jawbones that could belong to any number of rodenty type things with fangs. The BF gave me a turtle shell he found which I will interpret as an apology for his identification “mistake.” We saw bluebirds and walked back across the field to the house accompanied by  the neighbor’s hound dog.

Find the bluebird.

Find the bluebird.

Would I decorate my house or garden with either the pig or horse skull? Absolutely!

The question becomes why they would have been perfectly acceptable without question if they were deer skulls, why they were sort of okay when we thought they were both pig skulls, and why they became less acceptable when one turned out to be  a horse skull.

p.s. I was blissfully tromping through winter-free woods, then traveled two hours north when this happened:

Seriously, Ohio?

Seriously, Ohio?

Places Where I Almost Died a Little…Ssshhh, don’t tell my mom.

Spring Break: Places Where I Almost Died a Little…ssshhh, don’t tell my mom.

Go away snow, go away snow, go away snow….

During the quest for weird shit, sometimes we find ourselves in the shit. Since I have long ago survived my teenage years and college at Ohio University, it’s a given that along the way I’ve probably made some questionable decisions that could have turned out badly. But I have never been arrested, haven’t been hospitalized nor has it ever been “touch and go.” However, there have been those moments of personal concern for my well being and that nagging question of “What the fuck was I thinking?”

I don’t consider myself to be terribly brave or a risk-taker. I do consider myself to be terribly paranoid, possibly the voice of reason sometimes, and borderline turning into my mom. For example, Jill, my ultimate travel companion; our friend Carrie, and I spent a few days in San Francisco during an extensive road trip. Jill and I had already been on the road together for 10 days at that point and were exhausted physically from hiking, camping and driving; and mentally exhausted with each other’s company. Lucky Carrie didn’t know what she was landing in when she touched down to join us in San Fran. It was a trip into the Mission District in search of the perfect burrito that a friend had told the two of them about (better than Chipotle, sacrilege) that pushed me over the paranoid, self-preservation edge. When there are bars on all the windows and I have to step over a drunken ? dead? body on the sidewalk, I’m no longer comfortable. When I witness a group of policemen chasing another man around a city bus, I’m just so done. But I tried my hardest not to be the spoil sport who ruined burrito fun because I was uncomfortable with police busts. My pals blissfully went on as I tried to suggest that perhaps this burrito didn’t exist and we would all be better off without it. Ultimately, we found the burrito, it was okay, Jill and I had our routine “we’ve been on this trip together too long” throw down, and we went on. What the fuck was I thinking?

Obviously I’m not dead, not word processing this from beyond the grave. But the fear and paranoia was there. And Jill. It’s going to sound like she and this road trip are responsible for much of my mental anguish. To be fair though, we were on the road for 17 days on this trip and over the years have traveled to about 28 of the 50 states together. In between the “I’m soooo tired of you” and the “OMG, we’re going to die!” we have a really good time and see some awesome stuff.

So anyway….

The first time that death was imminent on this trip was at Lake Powell, Arizona. Death was going to come in the form of me strangling Jill with her sleeping bag. We got to the campsite at dark and set up the  tent in winds that wanted to pull it out of our hands. Dinner was apples, grapes, pretzels and a mouse sighting. This was my first time camping ever and it was the most miserable night I would have the whole trip.

We went to bed after rinsing off in a sink so I was already sweaty and gross. Trying to sleep inside the tent was like trying to sleep inside of a flapping, whipping plastic bag. The wind kept kicking sand in through the flaps of the sweltering hell hole, adding to my personal layer of grit. During the calm moments I could hear all the action in the bushes. A wide variety of local lizards and rodents were out and about, tearing it and each other up for the night. One of them decided to bite one of the four dogs in the next campsite over so everyone there had to wake up and deal with that. Meanwhile my travel buddy added to the noise by snoring like a drugged chainsaw.

I would take the car and leave. I would get a hotel room in town no matter the cost. I could not exist like this.

I gave up at 5:30 and greeted the sunrise with the lizards. Jill cheerfully awoke later, pulled out her magic bag of goodies and set up to make pancakes. I considered poisoning them.

It got better though. The loose tent flap was fixed, we spent the day hiking in Bryce Canyon- my now favorite hole in the ground- and discovered the camp showers. Being exhausted and $2 worth of clean eased the camping experience. Jill was safe….for now.

The next day we signed up for a lake cruise with Captain Tim into Antelope Canyon. Because of the type of boat and the local wake laws, there was no speed created refreshing breeze to counteract the sun burning my pale, pale skin to a crisp. There was also no protection for our lunch. Here is my advice: when nature decides to turn your cheese and summer sausage sandwich into a grilled cheese sandwich just by looking at it, DO NOT EAT THIS SANDWICH. Capt. Tim could not dock the fucking cruiser fast enough for my taste. Jill and I both left our intestines behind. I spent the next two days letting all solid food pass directly through me.

Take away: Lake Powell is a death trap.

The next leg of our death march was the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and more hiking. My long suffering friend has spent a lot of our travel time over the years dealing with my pussy attitude when it comes to hiking. I love hiking. I get all excited like the dog you’re about to take for a walk. Walkies!!

I love nature, I just don’t understand why it has to be uphill all the fucking time! Inevitably there will be a point in whatever hike we’re on when I’m all, “No, no, go on without me. Just leave me here; I’ll be fine.” Jill will patiently wait for me to catch up or rest or drink some water and then move on. I will begrudgingly drag my ass after her and then do something charming like throw up in the trees at the peak of Mount Osceola, New Hampshire, in the presence of like 30 other hikers. That seems like a pretty specific example, yea?

Despite this or maybe just to see what will happen the next time, she continues to take me for “walks.” We started this “walk” around 7 a.m., having gotten up at 5 a.m. to hit up the cafeteria and make sure we had everything. Our goal was the 3 mile rest house on the Bright Angel Trail. The round trip was supposed to take 6 hours and we each needed to carry a liter of water per hiking hour. So, yes, I drank plenty of water and ate plenty of GORP along the way, but the end of this story is pretty predictable.

We started down the switchbacks which were dirt, some loose stones and a view straight down into that part of the canyon. Awesome. I have no problem with heights. Oh, wait I do!

One of the many problems with switchbacks is that the view never changes. There was never that point when we rounded a corner and gasped at the majestic beauty of nature. Nope, just the same brownish orange rocks heading down as the temperature progressively headed up for the day. This hike was not so much about nature and a beautiful pay off as it was about just doing it. At the 2.5 miles mark and about 2 hours into this adventure, I was done.

I know your initial reaction is, “But wait, you only had a half mile to go to your goal, quitter!!!”

No, no kitten.

I had a half mile of more switchbacks that would become even steeper and drop me another 1000 feet in elevation until I got to a frickin’ outhouse without a view. Check your trail guide.

My report card says: “Sets goals and fails to meet them.” At 2.5 miles, all I could see was the insanely steep, miserable climb back up the exact same trail that I had just come down. No new view, no pay off and it was now 9:15 a.m. and even hotter than when we had started. We parted ways and I started dragging myself back up while Jill continued her determined quest for the 3 mile rest house.  The biggest variable was the mule trains. The mule trains start running at 9 a.m. with 6-10 mules per grouping. There is no way in hell that I would ever climb onto the back of these swaying, temperamental animals and go for a ride on the edge of a cliff. I don’t know what the hiking etiquette was, but I pressed my body against the cliff wall and waited for them to pass, hoping that no one died or kicked me. Five different trains passed me on my way up. The other fun variables that the mules added to the climb were piles of shit and gigantic, unreal puddles of piss but only at the corners of the switchbacks.

I watched a lizard scamper over and drink exhaustively from a puddle of mule piss because I was in Hell.

Now that it was a “reasonable” time of day, more and more ill-prepared tourists were coming down the trail just for giggles, wearing things like flip flops and carrying one plastic water bottle. These people are your tax dollars at work for every one that has to be rescued by the park service.

Eventually Jill caught up with me and we lunched at the 1.5 rest stop. There, an aggressive ground squirrel- trained by fat uninformed tourists to beg for food- stole part of her lunch and leaped triumphantly into the canyon. We were too tired to care much. We talked with a group that had camped at the bottom and they told us that the temperature at 9 p.m. was 108 degrees. We (I) got our asses kicked by a group of grandmas with massive amounts of gear who had started at the North Rim, camped overnight, and were on their way out up to the South Rim.

Meanwhile back at my personal ranch, I had to pause at every switchback, my legs were shaking, I was lightheaded and felt like vomiting. I love nature! I spent most of my rest time sitting with my head between my legs, mumbling about wanting to just go to sleep for a while. Jill said I wasn’t allowed; allegedly that’s when people die.

We made it out by 2:00. She did laundry; I laid around feeling like dehydrated mule shit.

So not all of my “I died a little” stories involve hiking but most involve nature. I have felt threatened by rattlesnake warning signs at rest areas in the Mojave Desert and by signs informing me that mountain lions absolutely WILL EAT my small dogs and/or children if I let them wander too far ahead in Yosemite.

I have observed the signs in the North Dakota Badlands that illustrated that the freely roaming buffaloes are not for petting. You know that someone had to make that sign because at some point a tourist said:

“Look, kids. Take my picture while I pet the furry mountain with horns……OUCH!”

However there was no sign that said, “Don’t Drive Your Toyota Corolla into a Herd of Buffalo.”

Currently there is a State Farm Insurance television commercial where two guys are eating lunch in what appears to be  a compact vehicle like…oh, let’s say a Toyota Corolla. Their lunch is suddenly interrupted by a buffalo head-butting their car as they scream in panic. It’s only fucking funny until somebody loses an eye. 

One of the many reasons that Jill and I loved the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (i.e. the North Dakota Badlands), was that it was our personal playground. There were no tourists! All the tourists stayed in Medora, the town at the mouth of the national park, because they had come to see the live wild west show and eat ice cream. It was the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, of North Dakota: tons of old people and families with small children who drove all the way here to ignore nature and buy airbrushed t-shirts!

We would have conversations with them over breakfast about our hiking adventures and how we had seen wild horses and antelopes that morning.

They would copunter with: “Oooohhh, but have ya’ (they’re from Minn-eh-soooo-tahhh or Fargo) seen tha’ show now?”

Us:”No, we saw real buffalo like five feet away in the park. You know there’s a national park here, right?”

So as we slowly did a night drive through the park, there was no worry that we would create a bear jam or slow others down if we needed to stop and gape at nature. Therefore the road block ahead of us, as we rounded a hill was a little hard to understand at first. Who else would be on the road?

An entire herd of buffalo.

During the day, the herd primarily stuck around the huge flat fields by the river, but in the cooler night temperatures, they were on the move and directly in our path. Plus they had babies. Mother animals do not want you doing anything to their babies. Don’t touch them, talk to them or drive near them.

A buffalo and my car at the time ( the aforementioned Corolla) weighed roughly the same amount: 2000 plus pounds. The buffaloes, however were much taller than the car and came with huge pointy horns and possibly fangs. Not sure. As they slowly surrounded the car, snorting and rumbling, Jill and I reacted only slightly better than the guys in the commercial.

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! Do you think I can use  flash?”

You see, there was and is a priority here. We were in the midst of the weird shit and it needed documented. What is the point of getting surrounded by a herd of buffalo if you can’t get a picture of the particularly big one with a crooked horn that screams, “I will fuck your shit up if you try to pet me.”

 

P.S. This has become very long and I had some other ideas on my brainstorming list like the airboat in Louisiana or that time with my mom on Pike’s Peak in Colorado, but I feel like this is better served with a buffalo threatening me. The End.

 

 

Day 8: The Chubb Rub Master Plan

This was originally put out into the world as a series of Facebook posts. Some editing has occurred.

Chubb Rub Master Plan

August 11, 2011

Long Winded Story, Laugh at My Expense: So Jill and I went to Athens for a couple of days. Hiked all day, stayed at the OU  Inn and walked into town for dinner each night. The first night, we walked to Casa which is on the opposite end of uptown from the OUInn. We both wore  a skirt because we are inherently adorable and it was summer. However I was working on a fab case of “chubb rub” by the time we got to dinner. For those of you with skinny thighs who don’t know

So adorable and happily skirted at this point.

what “chubb rub” is FUCK YOU and it’s when chubby thighs rub together and create a chafing situation. Note: fat girl walking in skirt, humid  weather=ouchy.

After dinner, tequila is NOT my friend, we wandered further across campus down to South Green and along the bike path back to the Richland bridge. Thighs on fire and not in a sexy way, I was experimenting with moves from the Ministry of Silly Walks, anything to keep my thighs from touching. All adorableness lost, attempts at tying up said skirt into some manner of shorts/diaper configuration were made, epic fail.

The next morning more hiking was in store. The chafing was such that even shorts were painful to walk in much less endure our 6 mile plan.

Me: “I have got to get huge bandaids or I will spend all day walking like I fucked a horse.” A grocery run was on the to-do list so no problem.

Chubb rub pre-moleskin application. This seemed like a really good idea!

Back when Jill, our friend Erin, and I did the 3-Day cancer walk, they recommended moleskin because it stayed in place really well and you could put it over blisters then remove it without tearing the shit out of your blister.

Master Plan!

Slap a slab of moleskin on the inside of each thigh and go. No pain! I hiked 6 miles in 4 hours, climbed over all kinds of bullshit, saw nature, no problems. Disgustingly  sweating, mud covered and gross at the end.

So I was disgusting(not a new thing).

Happy hikers. The only pain I feel is from my fashion choices.

We headed back for showers and naps pre-dinner. Back at the inn, I began to deliberate my next move.

Voice 1: “Leave the moleskin on, wear the other skirt. Yea, skirts in summer!”

Voice 2:”Hey, you smell like ass and that moleskin has been rubbing between your thighs all day. Gross.”

I went with Voice 2 and this is where the next phase of my “injury” occurred.

Remember how I thought the moleskin would be easy to remove? I have no comparison for how attached to my inner thighs this stuff was. Picture me naked in a hotel bathroom (or don’t, it’s not too pretty these days) trying desperately yet delicately to peel this stuff off, all the while envisioning it ripping off a 3″x 4″ area of skin. Every time I pulled on the moleskin, it stretched the attached inner thigh skin. I guess the best image would be when you’re trying to peel the bumpy outer skin off of a piece of chicken. I was on the edge of shrieking for Jill to help. Tests of friendship: will you still love me if you have to help me pull adhesive off my inner thighs?

My next theory was that getting the moleskin wet in the shower would somehow dissolve the adhesive. Not working. Fortunately, our disgusting hotel tub was draining very slowly despite missing the actual plug to the drain. I sat down and began my work underwater. One shower and a tub soak and I managed to get both pieces off. HOWEVER…

Both pieces left behind ALL of their adhesive. So now not only were my thighs horribly chafed, but they were literally sticking together, sticking to anything that I tried to wipe the adhesive off with and sticking to any clothing I put on. At one point my thighs were stuck to the toilet lid I was sitting on as I tried to remove tiny bits of toilet paper that I had attempted to wipe the adhesive off with.

So … I went with shorts for that evening’s dinner. Understand  though that in order to go to the bathroom or get undressed, I could get my shorts down to mid thigh then had to slowly peel the fabric off one shrieking thigh at a time as I watched tiny little blood vessels burst. We left the bar when I told Jill, “I think I can go to the bathroom one more time before I bleed out through my thighs.”

Chubb rub with protective coating of fabric fuzz, kleenex and other odds and ends.

We all know when we rub Kleenex, toilet paper, or fabric across something adhesive, it sticks. At this point, post-hike and home from our Athens vacation, the pain had ceased. However I now had two 3″x 4″ patches of skin made out of the residual fuzz of Kleenex and my blue shorts with rug burn looking red spots peeking through. Going at the adhesive with finger nail polish remover was suggested, but I wound up back in the bathtub for a while working at the adhesive with lotion. If this was an essay for all the books I should be writing about the dumb things that happen, I’d have  a catchier ending. Athens is still an awesome place to be and Jill still snores in her sleep.