Sunday, January 19, 2020

To not slow down

I slogged up the mountain in pursuit of R and A, who were comfortably skinning on skis. They were only going up for the day, but I carried a full backpack to spend the night. My snowshoes felt clunky compared to their skis, but this slope was way too steep and technical for me to ski it, thus the shoes. Still, I couldn't help but think how difficult this was, sinking into deep snow as I shuffled along. After all, it was my birthday the next day. Maybe it was finally happening, the slowing down that my older friends had mentioned. Though I have accepted this with running, I am not ready to acknowledge it with other adventures.

But. Snowshoeing is hard. Though it isn't the hardest activity out there, snowshoeing with a full pack in deep, powdery snow isn't the easiest either. "I used to like snowshoeing," A says as we ascend yet another hill. "Then I started skiing." I can see her point. Though they have to skin up the mountain, it takes them half the time to get back down. I stomp along, feeling slow and old.

But as we reached the cabin, R said, "You are the fastest snowshoer I know." Maybe I wasn't slowing down, not yet.

A little worse for wear, but I made it to the cabin on snowshoes.
Because there is a very small adventure pool here, I often find myself out hiking or skiing with friends that bridge a wide age gap. The other day in our party we had someone who was 25 and someone else who was 67. In a larger city, I'm not sure this would happen; I have noticed on the online groups that people tend to stick to their own age bracket. They're missing out. My older friends fill me in on life in these mountains forty years ago, and the younger ones bring a spark of enthusiasm that I appreciate.

Selfies with the dog
At the cabin, I opt out of the mountain climb with the others in order to stay with the older dog, who wants to go but probably shouldn't. He whines a bit, upset to be left. But then his young buddy, Ruby, can't stand to go without him and bolts back to us. Despite the age difference, they love each other. We sit by the fire and read and take dog selfies. "We'll go out later," I promise the old dog, "when there's a trail packed down."

Later we climb high, looking over as far as Idaho. The wind has stopped and, at thirty degrees, it feels warm. The old dog bounds down the hill like a puppy. He's not slowing down that much either, not yet. Neither of us are.




14 comments:

  1. Yesterday I hiked with people who were 72, 50, 27, and 10 months (in a backpack).

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    1. That's great! Such a range of life experience (and experiences) to share....makes our own life much richer

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    2. A baby on the hike, cute.

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  2. Love this post...both for the views, the snowshoeing, the range of friends...and the dogs!

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    1. I like having a range, there are people even here who only hang out with their age group. I don't get it.

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  3. I suspect that some people don't want to be slowed down and others don't want to feel like they are holding others back (I am one of those...slow and steady..).
    It's hard to accept the aging body, and I combat it as much as I can, but things break down, twinge, ache, or downright hurt. Can't say it doesn't suck...

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    1. I have not found much to like so far, in the past I used to just dismiss any weird aches but now I think, uh oh, what's that all about? Luckily I can still do most everything I want. Except marathons. But that's ok.

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  4. Snowshoeing in deep snow is about the most consistently strenuous activity there is. Uphill skiing is about the same in my limited experience, but skis are not friendly to those of us who aren't friends with gravity. Now that my father is retired he snowshoes in the mountains at least three times a week. It's unbelievable to me how strong he is at age 67.

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    1. At least with skinning in skis there is some glide. Not so with snowshoes. Stomp stomp stomp. But I want to be like your dad when I get to 67! Plus I feel like snowshoeing extends the hiking season and I don't hate that. I'm surprised how many people here absolutely hate snowshoeing though.

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  5. I'd love to be able to try snowshoeing. Happy birthday. There will be many, many, many more before you slow down.

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    1. Yep not much chance where you live. Hope the fires are better, I haven't heard much lately.

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  6. Happy Birthday! I remember the time I snowshoed with a senior outdoor group in Colorado. They were in their 70's I was at least 15-20 years younger than the youngest yet they kicked my hiney. I'm not buying into the aging thing. I've seen far too many much older than me doing amazing things. One benefit of retirement is getting to play everyday. Some of us are better at it than others. Of course this assumes the aches, pains, injuries and ailments of aging haven't otherwise slowed us down, sidelined or curtailed our activities.

    I have no doubt you'll be one of those celebrating your 80 something birthday snowshoeing some place fabulous, or maybe by then you'll have become a proficient skier. I often think of giving skiing another go because as you say snowshoeing is hard work. Although I didn't have to break trail yesterday, it was a wet sloppy slog.

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    1. Four more years or more accurately 3 years 26 days until I can consider early retirement. Sure hope I can swing it. Until then I'll just keep on trucking.

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    2. Oh no, that's 3 years 11 months 26 days. Haha

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