December 22, 2004


The Subaru got a trailer hitch, today. While walking back to work from the trailer hitch shop I saw a dead cat in the gutter. It looked like a chunk of dirty gray slush that fell out from under someone’s car. It very well could have been, except that the slush was gray and not red. We sand our roads with red cinder out here in Oregon, so chunks of slush look like fresh cuts of red meat.

The cat was not that fresh.

Jody, Joel and I went on a hike over the weekend, and instead of a cat we brought two dogs with us. It was supposed to be a pleasant hike up to the Tumalo waterfalls, but the road was closed and on our hike to the trail Joel saw some cliffs he wanted to explore. He kept talking about these cliffs and wouldn’t shut up about these cliffs, so finally Jody threw down the gauntlet and told Joel to find a trail and lead us to these cliffs.

There wasn’t a path, so Joel made a trail through the thick, scratchy manzanita and other sundry pucker brush, straight up a thousand vertical feet to the cliffs. I would say that we reached the cliffs without a scratch, if only I wasn’t still bleeding from those damned bushes.

All in all, the toil and blood and sweat was totally worth it, as the view from the cliffs was spectacular. We explored a pinnacle that we dubbed Spider Monkey Face and were surprised to actually find bolted routes already set on it. We also found an icy logging road which we would take back to the trailhead, deciding not to do battle with the manzanita again.

At the logging road we were greeted by a monster truck Suburban. Even though it had big knobby tires and cans of beer, it was having trouble making it up the icy road. It kept sliding backwards. We slid down beside it and began our descent back to the trailhead. The road was rather slippery. We made it a game where everyone in the group had to fall at least once. Then everyone had to fall twice. No one had to really try, it wasn’t that kind of game, but it was still fun.

Jody and Joel had already fallen twice and it was my turn to fall, but then Jody skipped my turn and fell a third time. He fell in one direction and his foot fell in another, and he screamed in agonizing pain. He said he heard it pop. After taking it easy for a couple minutes Jody tried to stand up, but he could not put any weight on his foot. I was sure that his ankle was broken, and we still had more than a mile of slippery logging road back to the trailhead.

Luckily for us, there were two monster trucks sitting not even fifty feet from where Jody fell. It is almost as though the monster trucks made him fall, or he fell in an attempt to impress the monster trucks, or something. Joel and I slid down to talk to the fellows with the monster trucks, to see if we could get an evac. One of the monster trucks had a busted front line and it wasn’t going anywhere. The toolbox was out and everything. What’s more, these guys had just heard that their friends in the Suburban were completely stuck, and needed help out.

Luckily, there was one monster truck that still worked. It was a Frankensteinian creation that the guys had built out of spare parts the week before, an 80’s pickup truck with a two-person cab and no actual “pickup”. The bed had been removed completely, leaving nothing in back but the truck’s frame and a fuel tank.

We got Jody loaded up, and Todd was kind enough to give the two of us a ride back to the trailhead. Every time we hit a bump (and there were many bumps), it would jam Jody’s foot and he would hiss in pain. The road back was long, really long, and I don’t know what we would have done had Todd and his crew not been out four-wheeling that day.

After a cramped, bumpy ride wrought with pain and agony, the monster truck reached the car. Come to think of it, I’ll bet that Jody broke his ankle just so he could get a ride in a monster truck. That’s dedication. We got Jody down from the monster truck (which was no small feat, considering the cab sits about four feet off the ground) and loaded him into Joel’s Forester. Less than half an hour later, Joel and the dogs came jogging out of the woods.

At this point, any sensible person would request that we go to the emergency room immediately. However, Jody is not a sensible person and he was definitely not in sensible company, so we first made a stop at Parilla’s and grabbed some wraps and beer. We argued over whether the proper plural form of the name was Wrap of Khans or Wraps of Khan. We came to no consensus. We also told the people working at Parilla’s that if Jody survived, they could use his story in future advertising campaigns. “I broke my ankle in the woods, and when I finally reached town I had to get wraps and beer at Parilla’s before going to the hospital!”

Luckily for Jody his ankle wasn’t broken, but was just a really bad sprain. Luck is relative, though. You would think after all that trouble, with the ice and the monster trucks and everything, that he would have at least gotten a broken bone out of the deal. Sprains are sissy. I suppose I can keep saying that until Jody is healed up enough to kick my ass. He has threatened to break off his bad foot in my ass if I keep saying that, though I think it’d be worth the second trip to the emergency room just to see him do it.

No matter what happens, though, a second trip to Parilla’s will be in order.

Hey! Also! Check out Jody’s account of this excursion, entitled Tumalo Something!

Wraps of Khan gets my vote. Any grammarian will agree with me.
And that area up there by Tumalo falls is beautiful. I think I’ve been to the area you describe, and it is breathtaking.