Swallow your pride occasionally, it's non-fattening! ~Author Unknown
So I don’t know what it is about me and exercise and me and nature. I just don’t have the best luck with either really. With exercise I am a clutz, I am a spaz, I tend to hit myself in the head with the 10lb weights while doing reps. I tend to run into the edge of the pool while doing the backstroke. I tend to fall off perfectly amiable treadmills (although it was already running and it was DARK.) And with nature, it tends to lure me in with its seductive sensory pleasures and then poke me in the eye with a sharp stick.
I had a run in with both of my arch nemesis (or is that nemesi?) the other day when I decided to go for a hike in the foothills above my neighborhood. We’ve had such a long cold spring around here -I was still scraping snow off of my car not more than 10 days ago. But a couple of weeks ago we finally hit a few days of sunshine. It wasn’t really warm, but at least there was a few hours of direct sunlight here and there between the storms and I just really wanted to be outside. So because of my spring fever delusion, I hit the Bonneville shoreline trail. This is a trail that extends horizontally about 100 miles along the mountain bench formed by ancient Lake Bonneville. It’s a pretty wide and well-used trail and when you’re up on it you can see the whole valley laid out before you. If you’re lucky you can see the clouds and rain rolling in over Spanish Fork while the sun is still shining off the lake near Saratoga Springs.
Now the trail does extend horizontally along the bench, but it still goes up and down - kind of like a like a ribbon in the wind - so there is some good up-hill cardio-vascular opportunities followed by some welcome down “recovery” hills (as I like to call them). Once in awhile you’ll come across a little side trail that extends above the regular trail and kind of goes around the cardiovascular uphill challenging part. Other lazy hikers, like myself, have obviously decided over the years that they just can’t face another up and downhill challenge and have elected to find a pathway that goes around it. The main path is plenty wide enough for a couple of hikers to pass each other comfortably. But the go-around-lazy-trails are only one-person-wide and, since you’re basically walking sideways on a mountain, they’re also a little bit tilted.
So again, there I am hiking along and since the weather is so unsettled, I pretty much have the mountain to myself – not a lot of other hikers. Since I am there to exercise, on the way out I stayed on the main trail and just powered through all of the cardiovascularly challenging up and down hills. But on my way back I got a little lazy. I’d already been up the hills and down the valleys all the way from Slate Canyon to the Y and when I came to this one particular hill/valley combo…I just didn’t wanna (insert whiney voice here). I saw the easier go around path and I took it -ok? But I wasn’t the only one who took the easy path. Ironically, after being alone on the mountain for the past hour or so, I met another hiker coming my way. A young man walking the opposite direction came to the easy-trail split on his side about the same time that I did on my side and he obviously had the same lazy impulse that I did. The lazy path wasn’t wide enough for both of us to pass so as we met in the middle, one of us was going to have to jump off the path to let the other pass. Because he was apparently a nice young man (and probably remembering something about age before beauty) he stepped off the path (on the up hill side) and let me walk past. Unfortunately as he did that, he knocked some rocks onto the narrow path – a path that was only about a foot wide. Well, we can’t be having rocks on the one-foot slightly tilted path – that’s just not safe. So as I got to the knocked-down rocks, I tried to sweep them off the trail with the side of my foot...and I really should have known better. I really should know that I need both feet to walk, especially on a narrow tilted trail and any side-ways motion with my foot was going to upset the balance…well, my balance anyway. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, my effort at trail restoration set off a chain of events that sent me falling hiking boots over hoodie about 10 feet down the slope. The wide trail below stopped me from rolling all the way back down into town and I landed with a thud right on my fanny pack. Once I caught my breath I looked around for witnesses - specifically the young man who’d passed me (and let’s be honest, the one who was really at fault here). I saw him in the distance still hiking along the trail. Luckily he apparently hadn’t seen me tumble down. Or, had seen me and, perhaps worrying about having to administer some sort of emergency cpr/mouth-to-mouth action, decided to just keep on trucking. Either way once again I was embarrassed. Once again I was bleeding. Once again I’d ruined a perfectly good pair of pants (with holes in the knees not the other…well anyway), and to top it off my brand new fancy insulated non-recyclable water-bottle went rolling off down the hill and landed who knows where.
I limped my way back to the car not seriously injured, but seriously re-thinking my commitment to nature and to exercise and faced with the acute knowledge that I seriously should have known better.
Then I took myself out for ice cream.