Framing the Dialogue

A Walk Near the Woods

My strategy was to sleep in and conserve steps for the big adventure…only 640 steps and it was nearly   3:00 PM when we started.

We had a cool, but sunny hike which means we were chilled in the shadowy parts and warmed up a little in the open area. As we left on the hike I mentioned to my daughter that I thought that the numerous black bears in the area were probably not active yet. I was kind of joking, but we had seen bears on other hikes in the area. As we entered the park I noticed this big bear trap about thirty yards off of the road. Perhaps I had been wrong about not seeing any bears.

The scenery was great as we took a short break to “water the dog” near this bridge in one of the lake’s coves. It was an interesting dynamic taking my granddog along on the hike as she presented a problem with two causes. She’s a hunting dog and as such persistently desires to be in the lead. Second of all she is still a puppy in training and persistently wants to be in the lead. If you don’t get it, she WANTED TO BE IN THE LEAD which makes for a stressful hike with cars buzzing by. I estimate that I said the word “heel” a couple of hundred times.

We finally had to “rest” her and called her father to pick her up after two hours. It was very weird when we started walking again without pup. I actually started listing to the right as I walked the first hundred yards. I guess that I had been bracing myself against her pulling and needed to adjust my gait back to normal.

About 15 minutes after losing pup we came to the next major intersection and turned left onto a highway of sorts. The speed limit was 50 mph (which means the cars were going 60 mph), but there was ample room on the shoulder. It was more than a little disconcerting walking along with vehicles going so fast beside me. This was a rural area and many of the vehicles were trucks…large pickup trucks. The high gas prices don’t seem to affect these folks.

Another 15 minutes passed and while we were making headway my mental math started to kick in. We had gone about 8.5 miles (2.25 hours) and we still had a few miles to go. At our pace I figured that it would be at least another 75 minutes and we had a narrow, heavily traveled road ahead as our final leg. I felt like we should probably “postpone” the rest of our journey, but pride kicked in while I mentioned getting a ride to my daughter I didn’t push it…until we went another 20 minutes.

I felt okay, more or less, but my right knee wasn’t happy. I finally had to admit defeat to my daughter and called for backup. We kept walking along until my son arrived and made nine miles (over 19,000 steps). I vowed to make the attempt again this summer when we are back. I expect to be in better shape by then and probably will walk in the other direction and save the scenic part until the end of the journey.

My lesson learned is that when you are over 50 and pretty much not in good shape you PROBABLY should not embark on such an ambitious endeavor. What ended up being my best week ever of steps (over 87,000 steps) will lead into what will probably be my worst ever week of steps. My knee/hamstring is just not very happy with me right now. I had to react quickly Sunday evening and twisted so quickly that I actually felt nauseous. I felt it again just now as I described it to you. You’ll be happy to know that my knee no longer throbs in pain while I try to sleep each night. I have a Physical Therapist on staff at home who has given me exercises to stretch and strengthen the joint.


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