So where was I?
Finally, we got to the end of the trail to our reward: a cascadingly beautiful waterfall, droplets splaying out, catching in the light of the sun and reflecting it back like diamonds. Others had stumbled there, too, and were either passed out on the beach, recovering (or praying their gratitude--it was hard to say), as others re-hydrated in the cool water.
I stripped off my boots and jumped into the waterfall. Immediately, my burning skin cooled; my mosquito bites ceased itching, and I was in heaven.
Everyone was ooing and ahhhing. Dooooders snapped off a few pictures and changed into her swimsuit behind a clump of bushes. About an hour later, completely re-hydrated, I was ready to go when an amazing thing happened.
I got my second wind.
I'm always slow to start, but when I get my second wind, I'm pretty much capable of anything--running marathons, lifting small trailer homes, carrying a horse, toting military tanks. Besides, I had 3 bottles of water left, and I was re-hydrated.
"Come on, Dooooders, let's step up the pace," I exclaimed joyfully hiking ahead of her. Doooders, going too fast and hard in the beginning, had used up all her energy and merely grunted as I trotted by. Suddenly remembering the small bottle of Malibu rum in the cooler of the car, I never felt more elated and for the fun of it, took off at a brisk trot, passing other slow hikers as Doooder labored behind me huffing and puffing, her former zap and Marine-Corps drill instructor-zeal entirely gone.
"You OK on water?" I called out joyfully behind me. Dooders didn't answer, merely grunted.
Record time was made skipping back to the vehicle, Doooders laboring behind me, entirely soaking wet from perspiration, purple-faced, and making wheezing noises on occasion.
I was in heaven. Not only had I figured the rum would be delightfully chilled by now, but I also recalled two light beers were also in the bottom of that cooler.
Suddenly, under my foot, I felt a flapping on my sole. It was like the slapping sound you hear when you walk in flip flops.
I look down and see that I had entirely blown out the soles of my sturdy Merrill's. I'd literally hiked my own boots to their death.
But who cared? I had Malibu rum in the cooler.
"Unlock the trunk, Doooder," I call out joyfully since I'd made it to the vehicle first, Dooder stumbling, lurching and mumbling incoherently behind me.
Disregarding the children scattered throughout the parking lot with their families, I tilted the wonderful concoction down my throat in ecstasy as Dooooders grappled with several water bottles chugging them as fast as she could. Her hair was matted to her head in an alarming fashion, and her face was the color purple of the irises in my front yard.
"You OK?" I ask. Dooders didn't answer, only cracked open another water bottle and sucked it down. I thought she'd pour the last one over her head, but she drank it then refilled it from a spigot outside the vehicle.
It's hard to say what was better: finally getting into that waterfall, or getting into the goodies in the cooler.
But it was damned well worth it. Stay tuned for more "Camp Tales."