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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

Hiking McAfee Knob, three times

I have discovered something about myself: I will always be the last one to the top of any tall structure. Be it hill, mountain or multi-story building, I will always bring up the rear. I have made this 8-mile round trip hike three times now & it does not get any easier. The first time I traversed the trail, I made it up about 35 minutes after Dustin & Tom and then promptly got lost and wound up on the wrong peak. We walked back down in the dark, but at least we were together.

The second time, Tim, Tom, Dustin, Shawn & I went and I was only about 20 minutes behind the pack. And that was even taking into account that we got a late start & Shawn and I wound up doing the last 1/4 mile on the way up in the dark. It also rained all the way up & down. PS- Rain + Glasses + Fog = Crap Coordination & Multiple Chances to Fall on One’s Ass. Still on the way down, we all pretty much stayed together again. Going down is my favorite (and not just in terms of hiking. Ba-dum-cha).

The third time, we took a different route up but I still stayed well in the back. No rain, no sun down, but not a lot of fun either. Ok, let me quantify this statement a bit before my nature-loving friends string me up from the nearest happy, well-loved little tree. I love being outdoors, and I love the woods. The sounds of the woods, the smell of the woods, the feel of the woods. What I hate is that in being out of doors, I am constantly reminded just how out of shape & inferior to my friends I am. We didn’t take the fire road this time, we took this straight uphill trail that added another 1/2 mile or so to the hike & added “fun” little elements like jumping over rivulets and plank bridges and tricky trail turns designed to confound even the most experienced of Appalachain Trail hikers. Dustin, Tom, Matt, Aaron & I went up this treacherous trail, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who found it particularly dangerous. All in all, I am not the most coordinated of people anyway, and compound that with recent rainfall, rocks masquerading as fallen leaves, rickety plank bridges and no one to show me which trails to take and I turn into a stumbling, bumbling mess. I was probably about 30 minutes behind the pack this time as well and once we got to the top, everyone was pretty much doing their own things. They all took off & headed over to one peak that could only be reached by jumping over this little break in the rocks. To them, it was just a 2 foot jump, but to me it looked like the ultimate chasm of death. I made my way back to my safe little (I say safe, but we are still hundreds of feet up on this mountain) peak and waited until the group came back. On the way down, I was sick & tired of being the one waited on, so I took off aiming not to be the last for once. I wound up completely alone, just as I had been on the way up the mountain. By the time we hit the truck, I felt completely alienated, alone & vulnerable. Once again, I had limited myself by my own fear and my desire not to seem weak. If I had only said something or asked someone to walk with me, I am sure they would have. But then I would have had to admit I needed someone and that I was not as capable as my friends. I just don’t have the courage to do that yet.

Now, I know Aaron gets a pretty bad rap, and I’m not claiming that all of it is unwarranted, but (to use a sports metaphor) when the ball is in his hands and the game is on the line, he can always be counted on to make the key play & score the game-winning goal. He and I were riding in the back of the truck to & from Roanoke, and when we crawled back in the truck, he had noticed something was amiss in my attitude. He not only listened to and comforted me, but he made me laugh & got my mind off my self-depricating thoughts. Just when I think this man could not want to be my friend any less, he proves me wrong in the most genuine of ways. I am thankful for all these wonderful new people I have met, but I am especially thankful for wonderfully sweet, straight men who show me they love me when it counts the most.

Signing off for now,

Red

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