Last Friday was a bit of a milestone for R and I – one of those ones that’s measured in years (5, in case you were wondering). Now neither of us are really interested in making a big deal of these types of things, we prefer an “small gestures every day” approach, but it was a nice excuse to get out of part of a family event to spend some time together on Saturday. So we packed a bag each, all our wet weather gear, and lots of snacks and headed off on a hike.
Doing the types of day hikes R likes is a bit of an achievement for me (well for bits of it anyway!). This year is the first time I’ve been able to do them at all, and definitely the first time I’ve been able to keep up with him. I’ve never had the strength or confidence in my joints and limbs to do “proper” hikes – ones with river traversing, portions of climbing, lots of up and down hill, and adverse weather conditions. It had always been too hard on me, neither my body or mind could keep up. But my Barrecode-toned and appropriately fuelled body now loves these challenges, even if I can’t mountain-goat leap back down the mountains in quite the same way R can. I still end up with some joint sensitivity, my knees are the worst, but everything else just gets used-sore and recovers nicely.
The day ended up being oddly warm, we spent the first 45 mins of our hike stripping off layers after discovering 2 layers of merino and a goretex coat weren’t going to be necessary. The second section of the hike was a track up the side of the hill we were walking up, zig-zagging steeply upwards, and it was in this part I realised how strong my lower half is – it out-performs my lungs! I had to keep taking breather-stops as my legs were moving too fast for the rest of me! Oops… Must do more bike rides in summer to get my lungs up to standard. The last portion was a literal climb – up bolders and rocks to the top of the peak. I actually enjoy the climbs up, my strong glutes and legs can do quite a bit of pushing and balancing to get me up, and it makes R jealous of my flexible hips. That takes a bit, him being jealous of the way my body does something, given his insanely efficient clotting abilities.
At the top we did something everyone else on the walk seemed to be avoiding – we stopped, sat, and enjoyed the view and lunch for around 45 minutes! We saw 4 other pairs doing the walk on Saturday, but we think they were peak-baggers. Such a boring way to walk! Seriously – look at the view-
And the sky was so clear when we were up there, you could see for ages. I could even see one of the other hikes we did earlier in the year Hartz Peak, and the dusting of snow that was sitting on top of it. But more importantly – lunch! R brought his camping stove so he could heat up soup for me, which was so good after the last portion of climbing – it had of course started drizzling enough we’d had to get our coats back out. Why does that always happen at the most crucial points? So we sat, admired the view, and nibbled on our meals, green smoothies and jerky.
Back down was a bit slower on the first section. As I mentioned earlier, my knees feel the effects of use, and the down-climbing was tricker than going up. The zig-zagging down also was a bit hard, but I did my best to focus on using my muscles in my legs instead of just letting the pressure fall to my joints. I was mildly successful. I did end up with some usage bruising on my knees, the left being the worse as always, but the right had cleared up by Sunday, and the left is almost gone today. I felt both intruiged and proud that I had the knowledge and skills from barre to be able to consciously isolate and engage the muscles in my legs and take pressure off my knees, I’m going to practice that one on future walks I think. I certainly felt it in my legs later that day, but given that my muscles don’t seem to bruise with usage now that they have all that barre strength, a little bit of soreness is acceptable. After all, that’s what l-glutamine and massaging are for! Most importantly, I did it! I got to the top and back again, and given in the previous two weeks I’d done 1 barre class, 1 yoga class, and spent 4 days unable to move on the couch, getting there and back again only 15 mins outside the parks-recommended time it should’ve taken me is a huge achievement.
This year has been full of little and big moments that have smashed my previously-held beliefs about what my body is and isn’t capable of, and our hike on Saturday was another one – VWD be damned, I can do high impact walks. Next stop – an overnight hike!