As some readers may recall, the last letter described my first major hike which left me 1) feeling like over-boiled legumes, 2) looking like a beet, and 3) considering the benefits of spouse-icide.
Well, today I have a very different story to tell—one of triumph over body, spirit, and hiking poles. It all began on a not-so-ambitious hike in Sabino Canyon. A little bit up and onto a cliff, a little bit of a zig-zag down to the road—maybe 2 miles in all.
Well, we did the up bit and arrived at the sign pointing to the descent. The helpful sign also noted that we could, at this point, continue across the cliff on the Phoneline Trail, for an additional 2.7 miles (more on this little statistic coming up).
It was a lovely day for hiking…slightly overcast and not too hot. I felt strong, blessed be the YMCA. But, most importantly, I had finally figured out how to coordinate my two arms, two legs, and two poles without stumbling, falling, or spearing another hiker (very, very bad trail etiquette.) In fact, I was taking longer, more courageous strides over rough trail and…well, not to brag, but I think I was Tucson’s top candidate for the Most Improved Mountain Goat Award (MIMGA).
I said, “Let’s do it.” The spouse was stunned practically speechless. He never thought I’d have the nerve. Why? Because the Phoneline was scary: a narrow, serpentine trail on the edge of a cliff, some 500 feet from the bottom of the canyon. The vista above it was boulders, bush, and cacti; the vista below, ditto. But I figured that if I fell over the cliff, I wouldn’t die, I’d just be a pincushion for some cactus. (See photos below.)
Off we went, slow but steady. We were the oldest hikers on the trail and got passed by everyone. I thought we looked pretty damn good, but when we were finished and walking towards the car, a park ranger came up and asked if we were the Canadians who had been hiking the Phoneline Trail. Apparently, someone had reported us for decrepitude! When we acknowledged that we were, he looked relieved that we hadn’t required emergency evacuation.
Okay, so back to that little statistic of distance—2.7 miles. I thought the trail ended at the parking lot. Oh, näive, silly me. When we added up the distance, including all the bits and pieces, the total was 5.5 miles! Was I still going strong after 5 hours? Au contraire: an ambulance for the last .75 mile plus a glass of champagne would have been welcome, to say the least.
Yours in hiking rehab, Claire
P.S. To Weight Watcherians: I figure at least 20 activity points, don’t you?