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Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Still Remember

Today's challenge:

I still remember... Free write a post that starts with the line “I still remember...”

I still remember the day I did a long hike at Montana de Oro in Los Osos, CA, about 13 miles from my home. I was in my fifties and feeling good. I was of average weight and my knees were not giving me too much trouble. I loved hiking then as I do now but I was not in the habit of doing long climbs. That was another level for me. I decided to take a chance, try it, one day.

I prefer to hike alone, usually. Unless I am with a family member who doesn't mind my pace. I don't care to go with groups who are gracious enough to stop from time to time to let me catch up. One thing they may not realize is that by the time I catch up they have gotten their little break. And I still need one. So I like to take as long as it takes for my own body and for my mind. I do not hike to break speed records but for the beauty of it, the feel of the breeze, the smells of the native vegetation and the occasional treat of a wild animal crossing my path. I bring my camera. One time I caught a bobcat with my camera. All I could think about was getting that picture, not getting to safety. Not that a bobcat is likely to attack me.

This day that I did the long hike I took several breaks as I climbed higher and higher. When I reached the peak I was so pumped. I took out my camera and grabbed a photo of myself from below, looking out, and it captured the feeling I had then, very well. If I run across that photo I will insert it here later.

Then it was time to return. I started down the path and somehow got my signals mixed. There are several trails in and around that area and I did not take the same one back that I came up on. I do not remember if I had expected or planned to do some sort of circuit, a loop, rather than out-and-back. Whatever the reason, I was on a different trail. After some time I realized I was really on the wrong trail. I did not seem to be getting much closer to the trailhead at all. But I was descending, which was a good thing, and I figured I would get there eventually. I started to see signs of the ocean in the distance and I headed that way. I got to the point where my legs were so tired that I had to talk myself into taking each step. I also remembered a tip my sister gave me when I was quite young: to "detach" my legs from my body. I tried to divorce them so I would not feel them. It does help to do this, but just so much.

Eventually I did get back to the trailhead, or perhaps a different trailhead, I don't remember. From there it was not far to my car and I was ever so happy to see it. I was proud and exhausted at the same time.

I very much want to reach the point where I can consider this type hike again, where I feel so good it seems like a reasonable challenge.

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days:

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