Written by: Jennifer Wietelman
A not so perfect ending to a fun girl’s weekend in Tucson! What was suppose to be an easy one hour hike at Sabino Canyon turned into a grueling three and half hour ordeal, but it was completely our faults. We started out on the trail with 3 bottles of water between four of us girls, and that would have been fine if we would of stuck to our plan of an hour hike. Instead, once we got to the trail leading to Seven Falls there was a change of plans. The other three girls wanted to keep going even though we weren’t prepared with snacks, sunscreen, hats and enough water. At first, we thought it was just a mile or so more, but boy were we wrong.
While on the path to Seven Falls we stopped and talked to a couple who had just came from Seven Falls. The woman said we had to see it because it was the most beautiful thing she’s seen in awhile, and it made her eyes well up with tears. After that, the other girls were on a mission to make it to Seven Falls. I was very hesitant and even said, “I don’t think this is a good idea because we didn’t have snacks.” The couple then gave us quite a few snack and fruit bars, and we continued on what felt like the trail to nowhere. We kept walking, and walking over streams, rocks, and piles of red ants until Stella finally said stop guys I don’t feel well. At this point, our triathlete girlfriend, Silvana was so far ahead of our group we couldn’t see her anymore. Stella sat down, saying she was dizzy, and started drinking and eating some of the snacks we had left. When I reach out to her, I noticed her hand was shaking. She had lost her blood sugar, and I was close to losing mine as well. Our friend, Tanya, stayed strong making sure both of us got some snacks.
All three of us sat there, knowing we couldn’t go any further especially after asking another group how far was it to Seven Falls. More than a mile, one of the guys said. Concerned to leave Silvana behind we asked for them to give her message for us when they reached the falls. These two dads and their children also offered us snacks, and we happily took them off their hands. Disappointed and woozy we turned around heading back down the trail towards the entrance. All of us were happily crunching away on the snacks the group had given us, and even talked about how Stella and I knew better than this. Both of us had covered stories of hikers doing the same thing and getting stuck on the mountain. We continued to walk, and walk, and walk until we befriended yet another hiker, a fire fighter from Utah. He stuck with us all the way down until we reached the bathroom and trolley stop. Along the way we were able to fill up our water bottles, a huge blessing. Once we got to the bathroom we ended up having to wait another half hour before the trolley came, and that spelled out trouble. We were all tired, hot and hungry. Stella and I both have hypoglycemia, and were having a lot of issues. We hadn’t eaten enough to sustain the amount of hiking we had been doing for the past three hours.
If you’re unfamiliar with the symptoms of hypoglycemia, they include: blurry vision, rapid heartbeat, sudden mood changes, sudden nervousness, unexplained fatigue, pale skin, headache, hunger, shaking, sweating, difficulty sleeping, skin tingling, trouble thinking clearly or concentrating, and loss of consciousness. The longer we waited the worse both Stella and I started to feel, but we were trying to make light of the situation by talking and telling jokes. Then Silvana came out of nowhere running down the trail. It happened just like I joked about while hiking back down to the trolley stop. I said, Silvana will probably pass us while running, stop, and say hi guys. Feeling better about being reunited with our friend we continued to wait, splashing water on us to cool off. The last act of kindness from a group of hikers was while we were waiting. One of the women in the group gave us her bag of trail mix after hearing us talk about our blood sugar being really low. That bag of trail mix helped keep me and Stella from getting really sick. It also helped curb the hunger in Tanya and Silvana until the trolley arrived to take us back to our car.
All of us learned a lot of lessons that day. The first obvious one, to always be prepared when going on a hike, even a small one. The other one, human kindness is real and does exist today. To all of those people who helped us along the way thank you. I now plan to hike with more snacks than I need in the hopes of helping others who may need it along the way.