When I turned sixty a lot of shit started to happen to remind me of my mortality (i.e. I really can be killed!). I got prostate cancer, had my knees replaced, and I got skin cancer, all within five years time. Until age sixty I had not spent the night in a hospital since I was six years old.
I have done a lot of fun things in my life, but some things call me back and I want to get a chance to do them while I have a break in my varied infirmities.
My brother and I are planning a trip back to Norway around next May and I have decided after looking at it for years that I would like to take the hike up to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock).
It sits about 2000 feet (604 meters) above Lysefjord. It is a ferry and bus trip from Stavanger to the trail base which is already at about 250 meters (820 feet) so it isn't too bad of a climb and is a well-used trail in fact. Base jumpers like it because of the shear drop off. It is less than 4 miles round trip and takes about 4 hours, so they say. I can hope for a sunny day for the photo ops.
Twenty years ago I would not have had to think twice about a spur of the moment hike like that, but ten years ago would have taken a little preparation. Now it is a different set of rules. Getting in shape takes longer now. I have been walking a mile at a fast pace most evenings after work because that is when I can squeeze it in (and I am no longer winded, only sweaty). The terrain is fairly flat. It is the same walk I took with Smokey the dog. I am not supposed to run with these new knees, but walking, biking, and cross country skiing are all okay to do. The walk from the lake to just above the farm is about a 700 foot rise over about 2-1/4 miles, so that should be a good training walk to do regularly. Keeping in shape through the winter is tougher, but there are ways and I will find them.
I was as fat as I ever have been last summer at about 224 pounds, but am closing in tight on 200 now. Should be under it by next weekend. My Buddha belly is on the wane and I will be very comfortable in about 15 more pounds. I am officially at 5' 10-3/4" according to my physical last month and while I didn't regain all my previous height when I got my new knees this is an okay place to be. Like I have a choice.
Maybe I'll get a shot like this.
I remember back to doing a spur of the moment day hike about 25 0r 30 years ago on Mt Rainier in Washington. I went from the parking lot to Camp Muir on afternoon on a whim. It started at about 5000 feet and went to 10000 feet and was five miles each way. It was a nice afternoon hike, but my running shoes were pretty well shredded from the rocks when I got done. And I felt about 6 inches shorter because of the compression on my knees, but I was just fine. Glad I did it back then.
If I am able to pull this off I will have some nice pictures to show off the following month at my 45th college reunion.
In the meantime I'll enjoy my walks and watch the changes in the plants and animals. It keeps me grounded to be aware of the cycles of life and to accept the inevitable. But the beauty in all of that still makes me smile.
Here is my walk this week.