hiking, bum knee, friendship

Today we went for a hike and then a walk. I was nervous about the hike, due to my somewhat bum knee. Going downstairs and doing other things that put weight on it can be challenging. It is better than it was, but it doesn’t feel solid. Ironically, my left side is generally stronger than my right, but is also more injury-prone, apparently. I am also not in as good shape as my friends are, so was prepared to spend a good bit of the afternoon sitting and reading while they went ahead.

The hike started with a fairly steep ascent. About a third of the way up it I thought I might wimp out much earlier than I’d planned. But I was surprised to find that I made it all the way up without even breathing too heavily. I did it by going V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y. My friends were wonderful and accommodating, and to my continued surprise I made it with them all the way to the place where we mutually decided to turn back due to very muddy conditions on a trail with a drop on either side. We did about 3 miles of a 4.5 mile round trip, and probably gained 500 to 1000 feet in elevation. We walked into the clouds, which opened up and rained on us for a while in a shower that was refreshing and welcome. We got high enough to see into lush valleys, to look down on waterfalls, and to see the top of the peak that we had been aiming for.

Though I was very frustrated at times with my knee and afraid of falling, I was also very happy that I was able to get as far as I did. I am deeply grateful to my friends for encouraging me. I wouldn’t have gone on a hike in HI without them. I do have a lot of fear that my knee will never get back to normal, but today provided me more motivation to do my PT exercises, and to make time for that whether I have child care or not. I want to be able to hike, climb, run, and jump.

Today also showed me that it’s still possible to be active, even if it’s not to the level I want.

Good friends are the best. They provided encouragement, perspective, and the occasional hand to help me over a step bigger than I was comfortable with.

Tonight my knee is tweaked and stiff, but I want to see how it goes over the next few days. And I’m glad I went. It’s too easy to feel like I can’t do X, Y, or Z, that I’m too out of shape or too old, or whatever other reason I tell myself. How much my knee recovers is actually going to be mostly due to how much work I put into its rehabilitation. And how I feel about it is also my responsibility. It’s about where I choose to put my focus. Being up on a mountain today gave me a chance to remember how wonderful it is to hike, to see the views and appreciate the work it takes to get there.

So there’s your life metaphor for the day.

Tomorrow, J and I head for the beach while A and D do a 6-hour hike at much higher elevation. We’ll all have a great time.

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