Dear Hippo,

Yes, my dear friend.  That’s what the sign said: Warning: Extreme Danger. There may have been some other warnings too… “Steep, Eroding Bluff. Keep Off. May Cause Injury. Rescue Fees WILL Be Charged.”

Now, to most people, these words would mean “hey, you. Yeah, you. Stay away from here. You might get hurt. That’s right… back away bucko.”

What does it mean to my dad? “Hey, You. Yeah, you. Bald guy. I bet you can’t climb this extremely steep sandy hill. That’s right. You’re too chicken.”  It helped that a couple of rather athletic looking guys had just reached the top and told Dad that he could TOTALLY do it.

So, there we were: shoes off, and caution to the wind: running down a sandy hill.  This hill was so steep, it seemed like it may have been going straight down. With every step, my dad would shout something like “Hey, Guys, Isn’t this fun?” or “Other people pay hundreds of dollars to sky dive – but this is FREE” followed by “People do the most fun things for free” And, of course, every once-in-a-while he’d let out a hearty “yeehaw!” All I could think was “if it’s taking us this long to get to the bottom, imagine the climb back up”.

Finally, we were at the shore. Dad said something about how it was “SO worth it”. I tried to focus on the fact that we were alive… and not so much on the treacherous journey back to the top. Apparently, somebody at the top heard Dad’s exclamations of jubilation and replied “yep. That’s the best he’s going to feel all day.”

The trip wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. 50 steps up, rest. I wished I’d brought water. 45 steps up, rest. 30 steps, rest.  Near the end, I’d go about 15 painful steps and then collapse into an exhausted heap for a few seconds. We were greeted at the top by a very enthusiastic (not to mention energetic) fan club and then managed to drag our exhausted bodies back to the van.

The rest of the day was a blur. We ate lunch and climbed and ran down a couple more dunes (regular dunes. no warning signs) before the Ruegseggers headed back home. Then we sat through a rather entertaining demonstration of how the breeches buoy was used to save shipwrecked sailers.  (Ask me later and I can explain why it was entertaining).

I can’t believe this is the last full day of vacation – it’s gone by SO fast (but we did realize, while learning about more about the Life Saving Service that all of us are suffering from plaque overload).

Hippo, I hope you have a nice quiet night. I’ll see you TOMORROW!