Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lofty Goals

I've never been one to set a lot of specific goals to get things done. Usually, I keep a list of things in my head until the list gets long and then I have to write things down, but rarely have I prioritized tasks. Nowadays people of the older generation, of which I am becoming one of depending on your perspective, make "bucket lists". These are things to do before they kick the bucket, or as we call it more directly, die.

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.

 Lupines on top, thimbleberry flowers (solstice flowers), orange hawkweed, lupine leaves. 


  1. Jono--My son went to Norway last year, and loved it. Apparently you love it as well, since this will be your second (?) time there.

    He had one crazy picture of himself taken. He was standing on top of a huge boulder, and the boulder was perched between two cliffs or in-between a crack in a bluff. Far, far below him was water (a river, I think).

    I'm glad I saw it after he was safely home...

    Yeah, getting old ain't for sissies, that's for sure.

  2. See now, if Pulpit Rock were in Canada, there would be guard rails all around the outer edge and warning signs everywhere. Plus there would be a funicular to haul people up and down. And you'd have to sign a waiver of liability before going up.

    Good luck with your goal!

  3. Dear Jono, I am a boy of 67 and quite understand. The things we have been though in love and kindness to others have not always allowed us to be kind to our own bodies. Take it slow and best of luck.

  4. I tend to muddle through life rather than plan (much less have bucket lists). I am loving the sound of your plan, and admiring your preparation though.
    And that was a truly gorgeous walk you took us on (without the breathlessness or the sweat). Thank you.

  5. Best wishes for realising your dream hike!

  6. dennis moore and his bloody lupines! 50 points if you get the reference!

    my friend mitchell just returned from a visit to norway with his husband. what a beautiful country!

  7. A planned hike up to Pulpit Rock is the perfect focus to lose a few pounds, build up stamina and work the aging leg muscles back into shape. Good luck with it! And I'm looking forward to seeing the photos in 2018.
    I was an ardent walker and walked everywhere, but in the last few years a hip replacement and recurring arrhythmia have slowed me down..... horrible! You are right, aging is not for the fainthearted.

  8. Congratulations on your hiking plans and your fitness improvements! Lots of people talk about doing something about their fitness levels, but actually getting the butt out of the chair and onto the hiking path is another thing entirely.

    The Norway hike looks spectacular and I'm sure you'll enjoy it; but I love the scenery of your current hike, too. Beautiful photos! :-)

  9. Sioux, I think this will be my fifth or sixth time there. Most of my family is there and that is the main reason I go. I really love those people. We have added three more first cousins from a love interest of my grandfather's that we hope to meet also.
    I've seen pictures of that boulder and I would want a rope tied around me before I would stand on it.

    Debra, It would be the same here in the lower 48. The Norwegians thought about doing that, but realized they would have to do it to about half of the country. No one has accidentally fallen off yet.

    Geo., Oh, THAT Geo.! Since I have made it this far I tend to be more careful. And since you're a little older I want to thank you for breaking trail on the journey.

    Elephant's Child, My bucket list is in my head and has about three items on it and muddling is my preferred method. I am not organized enough to have a properly filed written list. The walks have pictures of our intense and ever changing seasons. Things change almost daily.

    magiceye, Thanks! And thanks for showing me your world through your image.

    anne marie, Monty Python! Now I have to watch it. It will certainly improve my Monday! "He steals from the rich and gives to the poor."

    Shammickite, Thanks! I will have pictures to present. All should go well, but the surprises of aging are rarely welcome, although it is easier not to give a damn about more things now.

    Diane, Thanks! At this stage of my life "use it or lose it" has a little different meaning. It still has to be usable first of all. I wouldn't mind seeing some more of your lush surroundings, too.

  10. I feel like that's the wrong way to look at things. Here you go.

    "I got prostate cancer, I got new knees, and I got skin cancer, and none of them could kill me. I am invincible!"

    (Don't listen to me)

    Congrats on your weight loss, though. Keep up the good work!

  11. Your committment is a good example to all of us who are getting up there in years. And I'm afraid if I had to walk on that rock, as large and as flat as it is, I wouldn't be able to - I'd be on my belly like a snake and even then dizzy enough to fall off. I'm getting vertigo just thinking of it - seriously.

  12. ABFTS, Hey, you're right! Maybe I'm too stubborn to die just yet. Sometimes stubborn is a good thing and I can make it work for me. It is difficult to drop weight because I really like food. That is why it has taken so friggin' long.

  13. Congratulations on getting in better shape and losing some weight. When I was eight months pregnant with my daughter, we went to Mount Rainier for a short hike. On the way down, our six-year-old son took off running and wouldn't stop. At least he waited for us when he got to the bottom of the trail. He has always been a daredevil.


  14. If you've beaten cancer twice, I don't think a hiking holiday in Norway will bring you to your metallic knees! I'm sure it will be a feast for your eyes. Have you heard of the 'Norway in a nutshell' tours?

  15. If you've beaten cancer twice, I don't think a hiking holiday in Norway will bring you to your metallic knees! I'm sure it will be a feast for your eyes. Have you heard of the 'Norway in a nutshell' tours?

  16. Lovely photos Joni! That is a tremendous weight loss, good for you. It will be easier on your knees.
    You've proven you are a pretty tough guy, the trip to Norway should be good.
    Take care.

  17. Janie, Did your son turn into Schwarzenegger's stunt double?

    JACKIESUE, Isn't that why they build air conditioned malls?

    Gorilla B, Looking forward to it. Yes, I have done the Norway in a nutshell trip several times. It is a great way to get from Bergen to Oslo or vice versa. Mostly rail and ferry with a little bus travel for variety.

    Cat Lover, I'm not that tough anymore, but I can get the stubbornness and bullheadedness to work in my favor once in a while. I'm much more comfortable when I'm active and a bit lighter.

  18. I turn 60 next year.
    Hope I make it.
    Wish me luck!

  19. Getting in shape and losing weight is easier when you have a fun and specific goal in mind.

    I'm already looking forward to your pictures from your trip next year!

  20. May, Norway, I am making a note (tentative and preliminary, I am not one for promises) but if you can get there, so could I.
    Good job on the daily walking!! Very impressive and keeps me motivated too!

  21. Al, I was doing great until I hit 60, then a few things fell apart. The good thing is that they can rebuild us. Some days I feel so bionic. Good luck!

    Pixel Peeper, I am already excited to go. I always found your walking to be quite inspiring.

    Onevikinggirl, I'll be there and with any luck we can meet for kaffe, at least. I did walk down from Fløyen with my cousin Bente a while back. Downhill is more difficult for me, but I should be fine.