So I headed out solo along the West Fork Wallowa trail. The snow was spring crust, perfect for maintaining a good pace. There were no other tracks, and nobody was around. These mountains are known for avalanches, but here on the river bench it was relatively safe. I could see old slides farther up on the peaks, though. While it was relatively calm on the trail, banners of snow were blowing off the peaks--high winds aloft. Not a day to climb high.
There's a quote I read on a blog that I really like: "Someday you may not be able to do this, but today is not that day." So far there is relatively little that I can't do that I used to be able to, save perhaps running a marathon on pavement (my knees hurt just thinking about it). It's easy to proclaim that you will always be able to do the long hikes or runs that you do today, but it is also wise to know that someday this could change. In this valley, there are many outliers, men and women in their 70s and 80s who still ski and hike with vigor. There's one 72 year old who regularly beats us all down the trail. Of course I hope for this. I don't know how to give up anything with grace, not yet.
I might have to slow down someday. I hope not. I'm not very good at giving things up. Giving up marathon running was immensely hard. But in the end I replaced it with shorter runs on trails, and that's been a pretty good trade. I no longer race the clock; and though it took awhile, pace per mile was replaced with enjoyment of just being able to run. I have no idea how fast (slow) I run now and I don't care. I guess all it takes is figuring out what you can still do and going after it. That way even if you aren't able to do something you once did, you can still do something. That way, today will never be that day.