Monday, October 24, 2016

On not giving up

After being gone on a work trip all week, I optimistically headed for Bonny Lakes, only to find snow. Tons of snow. Enough snow that I decided to turn around. How can there be so much snow in October? I was REALLY MAD at myself for turning around (feels like being a wimp) but later learned that there was 2.5 feet of snow at 7,800 feet, which was where I was headed. So it turns out I made the right decision after all.
Ruby discovered snow for the first time and she wasn't quite sure what to do with it.
On Saturday I armed myself with a saw and loppers and went off to join a trail crew work party. If you hike or run trails, please help maintain them! I don't know if everyone knows that the funding for trail maintenance for federal agencies has gone down every year. I see a lot of people complaining and not enough lopping!
Sunday it was time for a fun hike in the lowlands. T and I mapped out an ambitious plan: descend 800 feet into Davis Creek, climb an unknown but high number of feet to Starvation Ridge, descend a ginormous amount of feet into Swamp Creek and then head back! It's not climbing Everest, but I have to admit that as we took a break on Starvation Ridge I peered down into Swamp Creek and secretly hoped she would say this was enough. She didn't, though, and I knew if she was up for it, I was too.

It's my experience that the older you get, the easier it can be to throw in the towel. Sometimes the thought of lifting one more weight is discouraging. And what people don't tell you is that there are random pains that come and go. These mean more now than they did when I was twenty and just shrugged them off.

When you don't do something for awhile, getting back to it can be even harder. As I lugged the Stihl down the trail on the work day, I wondered: how did I ever cut down trees all day long on the fire crew? Even running, which I used to love above all else, can feel like a chore. Haven't I done this enough? When do I get to quit? But as we slogged up from Swamp Creek, I knew that if I gave in to the siren call of the couch, I would regret it. I think it's like anything else: after decades of activity, my body needs it for everything to work right. It might not be climbing Everest, but it's still something.

We saw a pop up hunting camp at the trailhead when we returned. A bunch of older guys were puzzling over a framework of poles that would eventually hold their tent. "There's no way they will walk down in there," I guessed. "Probably road hunting," T agreed.

But maybe I'm wrong. I've seen all sorts of unlikely characters push on well past what I thought their limits to be. I remember back in the day when the fire crew guys were reluctant to give up the saw, or when Trail Crew Dan was shocked I could keep up with him hiking. Something kept me going then. Something keeps me going now.

9 comments:

  1. Oh boy can I relate to this! This weekend after hiking Friday and Sunday and running the Saturday in between I woke up this morning stiff and sore. Made me realize I need to step up the exercise routine so I don't feel so creaky after a busy weekend. And yes, it's harder to keep motivated after turning the big 5-0, especially if you're female.

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    1. Ha. I feel creaky also. I really need to get back to yoga. That seems to help with the hobble.

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  2. Climbing Everest is definitely overrated anyway!

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    1. Probably though I will never know. Even if I wanted to do that sufferfest, my Raynauds wouldn't let me.

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  3. I can definitely relate to this! Living in Maine, it seems that all of my cycling friends are putting away their bikes earlier and earlier. Excuses not to ride lead from too windy, too warm, too cold etc.... One mentioned the other day that it was unsafe to be in the woods to ride with all of the hunters around, but would continue to walk with her dog there... somehow I don't see the logic in that one. HA! At any rate, the lure of warmer days leads to all sorts of reasons "why not". As always enjoying reading your post, thanks for sharing!

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    1. It's so easy to fall into that trap! I'm now so unused to rainy weather that I really have to talk myself into it. But it's fine once I'm there.

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  4. I love that lowland hike you speak of! Right near RimRock and there's a loop via Swamp and Davis Creek that Justin and I did a few times. I miss that area.

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    1. Hi, was wondering what you all were up to these days. I've done that loop as a day hike, but plan to backpack next spring. It is gorgeous and under rated!

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    2. I know! I've been MIA. Camp at the confluence of Swamp and Davis Creek, right at the nondiscreet junction that loops you back. It's a large meadow and beautiful. Watch for bear!!!

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