Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Just keep going

The trail beckoned. A short walk from the trailhead to a nice waterfall. Then, more trails leading up the side of the canyon and into mountains. Sure. That’ll be fun.

Well, the first hundred yards or so of steps and switchbacks were very steep. Hell, the first ten feet had me rethinking this whole mountain hiking thing. Whoa, (huff-puff) did I leave my strength (wheeze) and stamina (moan) back in the Rolling (gasp) Steel (stop, rest) Tent? Or is Post-Cancer Man just not ready yet? Give up or continue? 

Um……………. Continue. At least to the end of this switchback.

……………. Okay, I didn’t die. Do one more switchback.

……………. Oh, there’s an observation deck after the next section. I can make that. I think.

……………. Looks like it levels out—a little—after this.

……………. Ah, there’s a nice boulder to sit on.

A moment later, a family with small kids came down the trail from the opposite direction. Skipping and jumping, as happy kids do. Then a group of twenty-somethings. One of the fit, energetic guys asked, “Hi. Are you okay?”

“Just being an old man.”

“Need any help?” He seemed genuinely concerned.

“Just winded.”

Assured I was okay, he continued on. And, assured I was okay, I continued on.

The trail did flatten, mostly. Tricky footing here and there, a water crossing, a couple of moments where I wished I’d brought my pole. There were forks I had to figure out. Which one for the long loop and which for the shorter? When in doubt, take the lower one.

I took my bearings. “I should be near the top of the waterfall. This is the creek and… Yeah, over there.” I could see where others had scrambled off-trail, and where the forest opened into sky. “I’m going to try to get right to the edge.”

And I did.

As I watched the falls I realized I felt good—physically and mentally. I wasn’t the old man I had been a half hour before. Because the part of me that said to keep going won the argument with the part of me that whined it was too hard.


  1. About the time I hit 70 I realized my hiking speed had to slow down a bit. It was not a lot but the small slow down made a huge difference in my hiking comfort. As an example a five hour hike in the past now goes about 5 1/2 hours and was comfortable again.

    1. Yup, I sit down alot, it allows me to see the tiny bit things I usually miss.

  2. In my experience, the mental aspects of hiking are often more important than the physical, especially when a hike is on the edge of our limits. It feels good to push past those limits when it works out.

  3. Thanks Al.
    note: I still have the same oxygen can from big 5 I bought years back for 10 bucks. Helps alot above 8k ft elevations.

  4. In addition to hand skills you have a really good eye.

  5. I appreciate that you include yourself in many of your photos. Kinda like you just popped in to share some cool stuff. Hey, while you're here, want a cuppa?

  6. I figure...What the quack is the hurry?.....Don't have to blast back to work anymore.....Enjoy the well as the ride...