Monday, June 15, 2015

Dead Man Walking

Yesterday, in an attempt to adopt a healthier exercise regime, Lucky and I decided to go hiking.

We hike now and again. While we complain that our post 40 year old bodies creak and groan with every step, we are always glad we sucked it up and did it.

 The location was nestled in the heart of the Columbia Gorge which for non Oregonians, is the closest thing to heaven. The hike finished at a huge meadow of wildflowers, which just happened to be in bloom.

The distance of the 'walk' was only 3.8 miles one way so felt like a total no brainer.  Some of the reviews included warnings like "Don't do this if you're out of shape" kinda stuff. I figured reviews always have to err on the side of caution.

Whatever.  It was gonna be amazing.

We embarked on tummies full of protein but a thought crossed my mind, I wondered if this was going to be my last meal.  If it was, I was hoping I could get some coffee in me first.

Gorgeous drive, gorgeous weather, amazing views, pristine river.  We traveled over Bridge Of The Gods which was where Cheryl Strayed, (from her book Wild) ended her trek of the PCT.  I'm kinda a Cheryl groupie so for me, this was big.

We got there at 9:30 but the weirdest thing was by the time I reached the restrooms located 100 yards away, I was out of breath.  I convinced myself it was probably due to the little climb to get there and I comforted myself that the trail would even out.

But it didn't.

In fact it quickly became the most difficult physical endeavor I have ever encountered.  My marathon suddenly felt like a joke because lo and behold, the entire hike was basically uphill.  As in reaching the top required climbing 3,000 feet of elevation in basically 3 miles type of uphill.

I finally got to the point where I felt trapped.  It was too far to turn around and it was too far to finish.  I had, what one might consider, a panic attack.  Lucky literally had to get behind me and help push me up the hill.  This presented it's own fun photo op for the people climbing behind us.

Don't get me wrong, the scenery was beyond gorgeous, truly I had never experienced anything like it but when I noticed we were higher than a plane that was flying over the river, I knew I was in trouble.  The entire hike was switchbacks and I was in tears. I was a dead man walking.

Keep in mind, this hike had been my idea and Lucky had given me a word of caution.  It was going to be a taxing climb.  I blew it off, reminding myself I had achieved much more in the world of athleticism.

I was beyond excited when we finally made it.  I mean, the accomplishment I felt was incredible.  I had endured, I had completed the challenge and proceeded to beat my chest like the warrior I was.

Except, we hadn't made it.  The 80 year old couple that had passed us earlier came up from behind and informed us this wasn't even halfway.  I felt like screaming at her, "You're wrong, what do you know anyway!?" 
But when I called her calculations into question, she calmly informed me they hike this 'trail' 12 times per year.  So they know.  Intimately.

All told, the hike took 5 hours.  Yes, I did make it and I have Lucky to thank for it.  He sure as heck didn't sign up for the position of motivational speaker on this journey.  Although, he isn't named Lucky because of good luck.

The best part when we got to the top?  Those wildflowers!

Turns out the bloom season had ended early this year so yeah, that was pretty awesome.

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