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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Senior discount? But I'm only 48!

Posted 07-07-2012 at 08:39 AM by LilyLady
Updated 07-08-2012 at 11:38 AM by LilyLady

A few years ago, when I was just 48 years old, I lived out in the desert area of far west Texas. Just north of where I lived was the beautiful, yet rugged, Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

When I'd get days off from work, I'd pack a few things, get in my car and make the 70-mile drive to the park to hike some of the mountain trails.
Park Guide

The signature peak of the Guadalupe Mountains is called El Capitan.
It's visible from far across West Texas in any direction. At first glance, it seems so intimidating. It makes you think that the park is a harsh, difficult environment.

Parts of the park are exactly that. But hidden in some 80 miles of hiking trails is a beautiful gem of a canyon called McKittrick Canyon. That canyon became my favorite place to hike but never more so than in the autumn.

McKittrick Canyon in autumn (this is a link to another photo of the canyon in autumn. It's a copyrighted photo so I put in a link instead. Just scroll down when the page opens up to the photo of the Canyon.) In the ravines are big-tooth maples, chinquapin oaks and little leaf walnuts that put on a fall foliage show of color that has been called the best in the state.

The hiking trails are rated by level of fitness. The trails in the higher elevations are lined by ponderosa pines and Douglas firs. Smith Spring is a lush oasis that is packed with ferns, red monkeyflowers, and unusal but oh-so-pretty jade-green madrone trees.

With the exception of the fall foliage displays every October, the Guadalupe Mountains are a lonely place. It's a wilderness park with few amenities. Usually, the only company you're likely to find here is the wildlife—everything from elk to big-eared mule deer to mountain lions, black bears, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes.

At this point, I want to assure you that this blog isn't a travel guide. Honest. It's just that there are very few places I truly fall in love with. The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of those few.

On to the story....

One afternoon, I was hiking the trails in McKittrick Canyon. The trail was high up one of the rocky walls that lined either side of the ravine below. The starting point of each trail is a called a 'the trailhead'. At the trailhead is a stand with a book where hikers sign in, indicate which trail they're going to be on, how many hikers in the party, and the time the hiker started the hike.

This is a LINK to a pdf of 'my' trail. As a matter of fact, I had this very same map on me during my 'adventure'.

Like a good hiker, I had completed the book at the trail head before starting my hike. I had my gallon water bottle with me. I was good to go. I was up on the trail when I slipped on a rock and started to slide downwards. I tried to grab on to other rocks, grasses, etc to stop my downward slide to no avail. (Although it felt like I'd slid down an entire mountain, I think it was actually closer to only 15-20 feet.) I hit a juniper tree and that stopped my fall. If I'd kept going, I would have ended up the ravine which looked like it was a mile below me. (It really wasn't, but in moments like that, things can appear exaggerated.)

Once I stopped moving and I realized that I wasn't dead, I decided I need to get up and quickly. My first thought was, "I have to get up. I probably woke up every snake in this park!" So I clawed my way back up to the trail. Instead of continuing the rest of the way, I decided to go back to the trailhead and call it a day.

After some very slow progress I arrived back at the trailhead. There was a park ranger reading the book. He looked at me, looked at the book and then asked me if I was all right. (I didn't think I looked that bad.) I told him I had slipped on a rock. He said he'd have to go back up there to check the rock. (Now I was probably not thinking straight because of my fall, my climb back up, my sore hands, etc. but I took his comment the wrong way.) I replied, "I didn't hurt your damn rock!" He laughed (how dare he!) and said I had 'spunk'. (Oh yeah? I'll show you spunk. Tell me again about how you have to check your stupid rock!) Then he explained that he would have to go up there to make sure that the rocks didn't create a fall hazard for any other hikers. (Oh. Well. Why didn't he say that in the first place?)

I honestly meant to calmly ask, "Would you pardon me if I don't join you?" but what came out of my mouth was, "Well, 'scuse me if I don't go back up there right now!!" He laughed again, (there was that irritating laugh), repeated that I had 'spunk' and assured me I didn't need to join him. He headed up the trail and I headed to the ladies room where I cleaned myself up. I washed the dirt off of my hands, my arms and brushed off my clothes. I thought I'd done a pretty good job.

I got in my car and realized that I felt too tired to try to drive all the way home. So I decided to make the 33-mile drive into Carlsbad, New Mexico. It was my plan to get a motel room, shower, get a night's rest and head home the next morning. Good plan. However, on the way, I passed a Furr's Cafeteria. I realized I was hungry. So I parked my car and entered the cafeteria. I went through the line, picked out my food choices, and got my receipt at the end of the line. I picked a quiet table in a corner of the dining room and sat down to eat.

At the end of my meal, I gathered my things and my receipt, intending to head up to the cash register to pay my bill. But in looking at my receipt, it seemed as if the cost of my meal wasn't as much as it had been on previous visits. The lady at the end of the cafeteria line had given me a senior's discount! (Instead of just letting it go, oh no! Not me! I had to go fix it.)

So I slowly lifted myself from the table and dragged myself over to the lady at the end of the food line. I told her that there had been a mistake and I didn't actually qualify for a senior discount. She leaned over and ever so politely informed me, "I know you're not old enough but you look like you've had a really bad day."

I shuffled down to the restrooms and headed for the ladies' room. One glance into the mirror told me that the lack of a mirror in the restroom up at the park had affected how well I'd actually 'cleaned up' before leaving the park. I had streaks of dirt running across my face, into my eyebrows and up into my hair. How embarrassing. I cleaned up the best I could (this time with a mirror), gathered my things and paid my bill.

Senior discount at the age of 48? I took it. I'd earned it.
Posted in Humor
Views 1418 Comments 4
Total Comments 4


  1. Old Comment
    I love it.
    Posted 07-07-2012 at 09:21 AM by _redbird_ _redbird_ is online now
  2. Old Comment
    Oh I am cracking up..so glad you got the discount, you deserved it that day..and that park is just drop dead gorgeous...El Capitan, like the one at Yosemite...I take the senior discount but at this point at age 59 I figured I've deserved it even if they think I am 62 or 65, lol..just give me a discount..somehow I HAVE earned it!
    Posted 07-07-2012 at 09:27 AM by dogmom dogmom is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Lily....Thanks for the story and laughs....
    Posted 07-08-2012 at 10:44 AM by Bones Bones is offline
  4. Old Comment
    What a great story...you should write more LL. Love when you told the guy you didn't hurt his damn rock! Quite the adventure.
    YES you did earn it too!
    Posted 07-09-2012 at 11:36 AM by crazyworld crazyworld is offline

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