On Sunday Xan and I went on a hike with our friends Terry and Mark. Terry and Mark are our best friends here in Saratoga and they get out into nature whenever they can. Terry and Mark are going to come out and live in our house on Lopez Island when we take off for our year abroad. The point here is that I love them and trust them.
On Friday night at dinner together they invited Xan and I to go on a hike with them up north in the Adirondacks. Michael was in Baltimore doing a show and Xan & I stayed home to go to a wedding. So, yeah, why not? A hike sounds nice. Xan and I would love to join them for a nice day outside.
We got picked up at 7am (after a late night because of the wedding) and drove 1 1/2 hours north to some trailhead somewhere admist mountain peaks. Mark had brought a hat for Xan (haven't unpacked winter stuff yet that is in a box in the bus with all the other things that I have packed to go home and now we're not until the Spring) and 3 water bottles for us. I only took two, they were big we didn't need three (and water is heavy, you know). I had a backpack with sandwiches, extra socks, chocolate covered ginger, apples, and almonds. What more does one need? Again, in life, I am humbled.
I didn't ask where we were going? I knew that is was an all day affair and that Terry had a potroast in the crockpot for us waiting at home. I was thinking about a nice hike/walk in the woods.
We hiked up Cascade Mountain. 2 1/2 miles up. Did you see that "UP"? I am not a totally unfit, out of shape, 44 yr. old. Or so I thougth. I have been humbled into the realization that I am a really totally unfit, out of shape, 44 yr. old. About 3/4 of the way up I could of layed down and wept. But of course I am with 3 other people and I can't stop.
Mark has a GPS unit and every once and while he would take it out and tell us how far we've gone. "Well thank-you, Mark!" because it was never far enough. We were never at least 1/2 way there to the elusive summit.
Lots of people passed us. I told my companions that if the couple from Quebec with the small toddler passes us than we know we are really slow. They passed us. We got to chat with the people hiking down that had passed us on the way up. I learned that I can still be charming and engaging even when I think my heart is going to pound out my ears and I my thighs are going to quiver off my body.
At one point, when we truly were half up the mountain, there was a group of kids coming up fast behind us. Our party stopped and moved off to the side to let them pass. I shook every kids' hand and welcomed them to the half-way point and told them what a great job they were doing. "Yeah, yeah, right, wacko lady"
Terry and Mark had planned that we would get to the peak and then hike another 1 1/2 miles RT to another peak. Had to let them down on that one. I'm a one peak kinda gal. Xan too. We were whipped but we made it to the top. And yes, it was truly an astounding view. Worth the struggle up. Worth the bad thoughts I was having about healthy, vibrant people.
At the peak, there is a cairn. A beautiful, beautiful cairn:
I took a picture of Xan:
Xan got a picture of me:
Believe it or not...the descent was a breeze. OK until the last 1/2 mile and my legs were feeling like some sort of squiggly desert. The peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches were devine. We dranked all of our water. After Xan and I powered through the first bottle on the way up we figured we better conserve it. We did and it all worked out.
All in all it was a fabulous day!!! I mean it, really. All complaining and funny storytelling aside. What a view! Terry and Mark have the pictures of us at the top. And...my "Wild Ravens" friends (this is their celtic art biz, the link is in my index) were blessed with 7 ravens at the peak. Watching Mark run with his camera and dive and stand way to close to the edge of the rocks photographing the birds was a wonderous and terrifying sight.
Monday morning I could barely move. Sunday night I woke up and took 4 tylenol and finished reading my book. Now it is Friday morning and I'm feeling much like my ol' self again.
Me?..out of shape and humbled again.
I must do this again.