Wolfgang Schlage / Daily Camera
‘Hell froze over,” I texted the ladies. “I’m going hiking. Sanitas in an hour. Who’s in?”
A half dozen “I’m busy” and “Dang, sorry, but I’ll meet you for a beer after,” texts trickled back in, so I went alone. The same thing happened the next two or three times I asked, so I kept rolling solo. It was pleasant. I’d curse under my breath the entire way up and then skitter back down as fast as I could, trying not to slip on rocks, skid across ice, or faceplant after tripping on a root — all the while daydreaming about escaping mountain lions, fighting rattlesnakes and chasing the sweaty hot guys whipping past me.
I was having a great time but couldn’t shake my confusion — for years these women have tried in vain to get me camping, hiking, or join various 5K races and now that I was finally willing to do it, nobody wanted to go.
“Aren’t your legs sore?” Alison chatted to me at work.
“Nope. But my arms are. Which is weird.”
“You’re running back down?” Jenn asked. “That’s kind of dangerous.”
“I wouldn’t call it a flat-out run, really,” I smugly replied.
It was getting easier every time I went, nobody had the tits to go with me, and all I was getting back was silence, which I chose to interpret as admiration.
“That’s right, Fritzie,” I whispered to myself on my fifth trip. “You’re extreme now. A sportsing badass.”
Finally, Jenn agreed to go. We met at the trailhead, blahblahblahing about her swanky utility belt and then suddenly, Jenn veered left.
“Where ya goin’, woman?”
“Uh, that’s this way,” I said and pointed to the right.
“Aha. That explains a lot, pal.” She pointed to the left again where a slew of ripped dudes, ladies and mountain goats were prancing up rocks. “That’s Sanitas. You’re doing Sanitas today. Let’s go.”
Twenty minutes later, my heart threatening to immigrate from my ribcage, I snapped.
“This is…AWFUL! Right now, right here, I’m gonna DIE! And it’s gonna be YOUR FAULT! I HATE THIS! I HATE SANITAS! I HATE MYSELF! THIS GREAT BIG FAT DISGUSTING SLOW FATTY FATASS IS TURNING AROUND!” I tearfully shrieked, like the graceful, mature lady I am.
I found it only mildly amusing I’d lost my sanity in a place named for instilling it.
After tumbling back the way we’d come, we went up the wheelchair ramp of a trail I’d been doing for weeks as I tried to calm the fuck down.
When we got to the top, I pointed to the east.
“This is the path I’ve been trying to run down,” I sulked.
“That’s Dakota Ridge.”
“I still like it.”
That evening, at Chelsey’s, I discovered my friends had been silently hating me for over a week. Who goes from couch potato to Sanitas, they wondered? Fucking Fritz. That smug, “No, my legs aren’t sore after besting Sanitas two days in a row” bastard.
Fine. I’ll keep hiking Sanitas — not the “real” Sanitas Mountain, but “Gramma-style” Sanitas Valley. At least now the ladies are willing to join.
Jeanine Fritz’s “I’m Not There” runs every Monday on Colorado Daily’s Page 3.