Saturday, August 14, 2010
The current hot weather affecting much of the US is a serious deterrent to outdoor activity. Fortunately, heat doesn't affect me as badly as it does some as long as I can stay hydrated (I do tend to sweat a lot!) Yesterday it wasn't convenient to go to the gym and I was ready for a change anyway--so I decided to break out my hiking staff and take a short hike on the farm. I have blogged about hiking here before and my slow progression to being able to do this because of problems with my feet and knees--so this would also be a test of my progress. My new shoes are well broken in and my legs are a lot stronger--even getting some definition from my workouts on the cross trainer.
As I started out on the hike I rounded the corner by the barn with no problems.
Our recent addition to the family "Duke" accompanied me.
Recent hay harvests have produced some picturesque round bales of hay.
This is a big oak that I use as a marker of my progress. Once upon a time it was all that I was able to do to make it there.
As I progressed past the oak I walked through a sunny patch, then hit an extended shady area. There was more shade than I had expected at 10:30 in the morning and it helped cool me off a good bit. There was also a very nice breeze blowing across the pasture and that helped a lot also. The temperature was about 80 when I started out, but it was rapidly progressing toward 90. I walked through the first pasture, past a grove of trees into the second pasture. In my earlier hikes this was my limit but I was feeling good so I kept going. I walked to the far side of the second pasture and found some more shade--leaning on my staff I took a short break to get my heart rate down into my "zone." Now I was ready to head for the third pasture--just before I got there I spotted a stump suitable for sitting down, so I sat in the shade and had some water.
With the end in sight I couldn't pause for too long--I was determined to make it to the limits of our property. I had never been that far before and knew I could do it today. Finally I hit the end, turned around and began walking back. By the time I made it back to the big sentinel oak it was very hot, so I sat down for a rest in the shade and enjoyed the very nice breeze. I pulled out my cell phone and called a friend and we had a nice "catch up" conversation while I rested. Finally I headed back toward the barn and the house and as I arrived at the porch the temperature was 97 and headed for 100 shortly thereafter. The walk had lasted a little over an hour and though I had sweated a barrel I was feeling good about it. I went in, drank a lot more water, took a shower and was glad I had chosen to fight the heat.
Whatever we have to fight and overcome--it is worth the effort to achieve the health we want and the fitness that will give our self-esteem a huge boost. From one hundred steps in April to the third pasture and back was a measure of pride that I could celebrate. Find something that you can celebrate--there is much to enjoy on this journey.