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Once upon a time, while Noah was with his mom for the weekend, I went with several friends to go hiking to some waterfalls. The plan, get up, get pictures, get back. It seemed like a perfect not-too-crazy hike. 4.6 mile round-trip hike to some supposedly beautiful waterfalls via a “rigorous” hiking trail.

People on this hike included my buddy Dave, my brother’s wife’s brother’s wife Audrey (and her parents)…

Yours truly…

and Fabulous Wendy.

The trail was tough. Thick scrub oak, boulders all along the trail, and 96 degree heat made us all exhausted beyond exhausted. Our arms constantly reached for water. Our minds quickly began to shift away from reality.

We hiked and hiked and hiked and hiked with no sign of the falls. “Surely we’ve gone way more than 2.3 miles” we all eventually began to murmur. But still, there were no waterfalls.  At one point the trail began going nearly straight up. Dehydration and hunger began taking their ugly tolls. We began looking at each other, wondering who would die first.

The last stretch of hike nearly did us all in. But then… we found the falls. “Yay!” we all yelled as we headed toward a tiny little waterfall which was really more of a great big rapid. Well, most of us yelled “yay!” Fabulous Wendy who had been on the hike before shook her head. “This isn’t them. This isn’t the falls. The falls are incredible and huge.”

“That’s impossible,” we all screamed, though our mouths were too dry to make much sound. Instantly, everybody whipped out their smart phones. Amazingly, we all had two or three bars up in those mountains. A quick look at Google Earth let us know that we had overshot the falls by nearly two miles.

We took a moment to goof off and cool down by the not-real falls and declared to each other… “we will see the real falls at any cost!”

And then, we started our hike back down. Cursing… laughing… still wanting to die. You see, going down something as steep as what we had unnecessarily gone up was nearly as difficult as the assent in the first place.

Half-way down the excess, we stopped at a lookout for pictures and to gauge ourselves on our GPS-enabled smart phones once again.

Fabulous Wendy was fabulous enough to point out the lake we passed about 1/3 of a mile into the hike. If you look *real* close you’ll see it right in front of her finger.

Don’t be fooled by the next photo. We were only happy because there was a camera pointing at us. Okay fine, we were actually happy. But I wasn’t happy that my hat was missing. It had fallen into the raging rapids at the not-real waterfalls when I leaned over a cliff to take a picture.

Don’t ask what this is… We were going for a manly sports-guy chest-bump, but in the end it just looks like a couple of fruit cakes being… well… fruity.

I can’t remember if Fabulous Wendy was doing some planking at this point or if she passed out. Probably the latter.

Once we rested, we headed back down the trail. The cruel irony of photography is that you haul around a 20 lb backpack to get awesome pictures, and when you take them you never can tell how steep something actually is. This… was… freaking… steep.

And then…

WE MADE IT!!! Going down, the turn-off to the falls was super-apparent and easy to spot. I honestly don’t know how we missed it.

The falls were absolutely spectacularly incredibly breathtaking.

We all took a moment in front of the falls to pose in our victory stances…

Our hotty stances…

Our accomplishment stances…

And our whatever kind of stance this is stances…

I don’t know what I did when I did that stance above, but moments later I went from this…

To this…

It was crazy awesome ninja magic or something.

In all seriousness though, the hike was incredible.

And planktastic.

With more than two miles to go back to the trailhead, I was very happy to have my moment standing in the cool mist of the raging falls.

We got to the bottom and looked at our GPS trackers. 8.5 miles. That night my entire legs (both of them at the same time!) seized up with charlie horses. The next morning, in all our pain and glory, we set out to tube the Weber River, but that’s another story for another day.

The End.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Are any of you hikers? Have any of you ever missed a turn-off while hiking and where did it lead you? Where is your favorite place to hike?

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!