Last week I realized that it’s fun to do new things. So, I decided to try something new as often as possible. Over the weekend I got an email from a group I just signed up with called MeetUp.com. It was for a hike southwest of town at a place called Meyer’s Ranch. My friend Betty is the one who gently encouraged me to join an easy hike with the group last week. So when I got the email and saw she was going on the hike I started thinking that I wanted to give the new hike a try, but could I do it? Due to my bad knees, I hadn’t hiked in 25 years and I was 80 pounds lighter back then! I didn’t have hiking boots. My husband was worried about my knees, the condition of the trail, how much of a challenge was the trail; I’m the girl who hated to hike further than out of sight of the car because of my knees. I have a race in 2 weeks, what if I get hurt? So many reasons not to do it, so many excuses!
The night before the hike, I decided if I could find boots that fit and were comfortable I’d go. I figured this was an easy way out; I have to look for shoes for weeks, go to lots of stores, try on dozens of pairs before I find one that will fit and be comfortable. So, I head to the closest shoe store and they have 4 styles of women’s hiking boots. I grab the cheapest pair, I put them on and though they are too big they are really comfortable. I find the next size smaller figuring they will be too narrow and hold the phone! They fit! So if the cheap pair is this nice what’s the expensive pair like? I try them on and ewwwww, they are like wearing a pair of bricks; back to the cheap pair. Yup, they fit and are really comfortable. So now, I have hiking boots. I still have all the other excuses, but I did say if I could find boots I’d go.
So I get home and catch Betty online and IM her that I will be going. After that I check the website for the hike location, they have two trails, a shorter easy trail and a longer intermediate/advanced trail. I thought what if they do the more advanced trail? Well, I have committed to doing the hike, but if I feel like it is beyond me I know I can head back to the car.
The next morning we drive up to the trail head, the weather is beautiful, the sky blue, no wind. When we get up there we find out that the trail is not just snowy, but has quite a bit of ice too.
Did I bite off more than I could chew? Betty has hiking poles and we each use one. Just having that extra “leg” helps my confidence. We head up the trail and when we get to the split – easy or hard – they turn onto the hard trail. It immediately starts going up! My mom and grandpa’s words circle through my head, “Slow and easy, go at your own pace, breathe deeply, you don’t have to be the first one to the top, even the last one to the top gets to see the view.” So I did what was good for me. Betty hung back with me and we hiked together, enjoying the beauty around us. Mile one, still up hill, the group stops fairly often, mile two, still uphill then it levels off, we stop again and enjoy the view and get pictures.
The trail starts to go down and things get a little easier. We stop for more pictures; I get some of the whole group.
When we get off of the mountain I feel beyond
I went for a hike, a real hike!; a hike that was 4.25 miles long, starting at 7500 feet with a 1000 foot vertical gain, on an icy/snowy trail. I did something that for decades I thought I’d never be able to do again. I broke out of my little box once again. Someday that box will be gone; no more self-imposed boundaries based solely on fear of failure, how I look, what others might think… I’m learning again and again, that if I don’t try, I’ll never know. The only way out is up and up might be a mountain!