by Lesley Scott
Cliff and I have never been hiking at Table Rock, S.C.
|Rain on the Mountain 882 words
By Lesley Scott
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My husband, Cliff, and I made plans to visit Table Rock, SC for some hiking on the mountain on our tenth Wedding Anniversary. Cliff, an ex-Eagle Scout, wrote a list of what we needed and bought a new tent, sleeping bags, hiking boots, Tilley hats and binoculars, and other supplies. Yellow flowers in the rocks were everywhere.
I heard something and looked up to see an older man with a walking stick and a bag around his shoulder. I poked Cliff and after idle chit and we all exchanged names. His name was Buddy; he was recently retired and spent most of his time hiking and mountain climbing. Table Rock was a familiar place to Buddy and he offered to accompany us to the top.
Huffing and puffing, we reached the summit! I noticed those lovely yellow flowers growing between some of the rocks. I was tempted to pick one of the leafy flowers. My breath caught in my throat, it was so wonderfully beautiful and foreign. Staring down, I could see for miles of green treetops, slopes and large boulders and rocks sparkling with mica. I felt dizzy for a moment and sat down. I opened and carefully ate half of my sandwich and drank some water. But Cliff was feeling weak and shaking.
Only one third of the way down, Cliff passed out on the side of the trail! I was at a loss as to what I should do next. I used one of our cell phones and called 911. Help was on the way! Buddy said he would climb down and see if he could find someone.
Without warning, everything turned almost black and the whole sky emptied on everyone! We kept on trucking, sliding and striding when we could. The rain was steady and heavy. In only five minutes, the trail was like a rapid stream. It was deep and my new hiking shoes were soaked as the water rose to my ankles.
The downpour only lasted about ten minutes, but we were still wet, our clothes heavy and the footing slick. I fell on my butt once and one of the men laughed and gave me a hand. I felt the worse was over. However, it was not!
At the beginning of the line, I heard someone say loudly, “Oh no!” Some one stepped on a hornet's nest! “Oh no,” was not what I would say. We battled a huge angry swarm of yellow and black wasps, or yellow jackets. These wasps were naturally ill tempered and we managed to move fast, trying not to slip in the mud The aggressive yellow jackets swarmed and gave most of us some stings on our arms and legs.
We ignored our bad luck and continued down the mountain. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we made it to the ambulance. The paramedics changed Cliff’s bag of fluids and he was starting to talk, telling me he was okay. I gave him a kiss and told him I was going to ride with Buddy to the hospital.
At the hospital, Cliff was in the hall of the Emergency Room, working on his third bag of fluids. “They told me that I was just dehydrated,” Cliff said, “ Thought I had enough water.” He did drink a lot more water than I drank. Nevertheless, I hardly ever sweat or get heat exhaustion.
The doctor told me that Cliff could leave when this last bag was empty. That was when I realized I had no transportation! Before I could panic, Buddy was suddenly at my side. He offered to take me to the campground to get my daddy’s van. He explained the Jeep didn’t have a back seat and he only had room for one passenger.
We made it to the campsite. After Buddy left, all I had was a penlight I held in my mouth, trying to find the ignition to start the van. With that out of the way and the motor running, I figured out how to turn on the lights. It was an automatic. I was ready to retrieve my husband and I would not let myself worry about getting lost on the way.
As I drove like a maniac to the hospital 20 miles away, Cliff was freaking out. He tried calling both cell phones with no response and even called my parents in Charleston! Cliff began to worry about Buddy. After all, he didn’t really know him and couldn’t remember if he had even mentioned his last name! He was a stranger! Cliff continued to fret about my fate. Buddy could be a serial killer who hikes to pick up victims!
Cliff was visibly relieved to see me walk into the room. He explained why he was so franticaly worried about my safety. Laughing softly I gave him a warm kiss on his forehead. “ Time to get outa here!” I laughed again. It had been a trying day and we both felt exhausted.
Back at the campground,everyone had fled from the frog strangler, but both of us slid into our sleeping bags, I snuggled with Snoopy and we were asleep right after saying, “Good night” to each other. I slept like I have never slept before.