Yes, I am! and I didn’t. I am 68 years old now and no I didn’t remember to bring my good camera on the birthday hike and the blurry evidence in the photos above proves it! That place in the photo is one of my favorite spots. You can’t see it from the photo but beyond the trees you can just catch a glimpse or two of the lake. I gave myself a very special gift on this hike. What I did was…
… to challenge my 68 year old self to hike a great last mile. In every single 5 mile hike on this trail, I’ve had to stop at least twice (sometimes more) in that last mile to catch my breath and while my heart rate (I wear a monitor) is beyond 160 when I do stop (that bpm is beyond my maximum for my age 220-age) and while I feel justified in stopping, this time I thought that I’d give myself a birthday gift by making it up the highest hill in that infamous last mile without stopping.
I managed it by staying calm and not looking up but for very brief glances. I told myself it’s okay to take small steps but just don’t stop! And when I achieved my goal and managed to get to the top without stopping, I challenged myself further to get all the way through the rest of that last mile without stopping. No stopping for any kind of breather (there were plenty of more uphills but just not as long) anywhere ahead. And I did that too! and in record time. So that was my birthday gift to myself! I felt way too proud of it.
Throughout the hike, as usual, my inner child came out. In my last hike, my inner child cried but not on my birthday!
In the first mile, I thought that I’d pretend that I was a leopard walking on all 4’s with my hiking poles becoming my two front legs and the rubber tips my paws. I leaned forward and dug in and did my best leopard impersonation as I hiked along (alone). 🙂
Then after a while, I let that go and reverted back to my childhood having flashes of how we kids used to play in the wooded area behind my grandmother’s house. I swear that a few times for brief seconds I was actually a kid playing in the woods back there again!
I spent a long time at that spot in the photo (above) looking into those woods, watching the breeze blow through the treetops. Nobody came along the trail to bother me or intrude on my sacred space and this was a lovely gift from the Lady of the Lake and the Fairies of the Woods–or so I’d like to think anyway.
A thought about my apartment tried to squeeze in while I rested from my hiking efforts letting the perspiration evaporate and drinking water. A funny thing about that. I’d been struggling with how to handle a situation with a new neighbor who sits on her porch smoking (our porches are only about 15 feet from one another). Yet, that whole situation seemed to be so far away as I rested there– like that whole situation barely existed. Thinking of my apartment building seemed like distant past life memory residue that was far, far away.
I love being in the woods! Maybe its a far fetched dream but I still envision myself someday on the Appalachian Trail… maybe in my next life, who knows? But it’s a goal. Still. Always.
I’d be there right now but I had calls to make and to get a newsletter out today and now with the time that’s left, there’s the task to search my storage areas for my air purifier–neighbor’s 2nd hand smoke makes it through my back windows even with them closed!
I did spoke with her to let her know her smoking was affecting the air in my apartment. She wanted to know if I could just shut my windows if it was a problem!
The weather has been so beautiful. It’s fall after all.
I told her I didn’t appreciate her 2nd hand smoke coming into my apartment. She did make a change. Now she does smoke out back instead, but still our back doors are just as close as the front. And it comes in despite the window being closed.
So long story short–extra time on my hands today will be searching for the air purifier.
Yes, of course I could have suggested a few things that she could do too– like get a patch and quit! But she must already know that.
Confrontation is not my style. Now then. Which closet do I have that air purifier in? I’m off to find it!