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Epic fail

I love the wilderness. Growing up near the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California, I was out every summer day, hiking the hills and exploring trails.Nothing changed through high school and college, except I drove to the next adventure. I thought of myself as a National Geographic explorer ó a combination of Sir Edmund Hillary and Jeremiah Johnson. Truly a legend in my own mind.So, it was natural that I take my friend, Diane, on a hike up to Chantry Flat in the Big Santa Anita Canyon area. I had an interest in being more than friends. She ó not so much. I would win her over with my mastery of wilderness exploration.†Chantry Flat is a mountain trail system that offers scenic views, shady forested sections, abundant wildlife, a tranquil creek and waterfalls. It was a great place for me to show off.At some point on the trail, and for some reason that now escapes me, I led us off the designated path. Not sure what I was thinking. In any case, here we found ourselves on a cliff side, with no traction for our tennis shoes, stuck, with no clear path up or down. Each step on the decomposed granite felt like we were climbing over marbles. A slip and a fall could mean plummeting several hundred feet into the canyon below. My effort to show my outdoorsman prowess was eroding as fast as the gravel under our feet. What a way to wow this cute girl I liked!We couldnít go back the way we came. I eyed a small shelf to our right. We helped each other with hand and footholds and crept upward. Donít know if Diane could hear my heart beating through my chest. We made it.Diane wasnít too put off by my bumbling attempt to impress. My wife has trusted me to take her down many adventurous trails in life these past 39 years. And this is more than just a metaphor. We have hiked dozens of Colorado trails, trekked through the Moab desert, and completed over 350 miles of the Colorado Trail together.

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