Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Long Way to Go

How I’ll get into shape for my Himalayan trek is on my mind. It kinda nags at me. Getting back to hiking seems the best. How to make that happen? I got a start last week (See Getting “Out There” Again).  But was I motivated enough to get myself out there on a regular basis, especially since that probably means solo hikes.

A few days ago a friend emailed to ask if I wanted to go to Wilcox (about an hour and a half east of Tucson. Ag area) to get some peaches, as we have done in years past. Sure. Then she emails – do I want to go to the Chiricahuas (another hour and a half past Wilcox) and hike to a raspberry patch we know about from camping nearby in Rustlers Park and to check out what it looks like a year post-fire. It’s a bit far to go for a day-hike, but curiosity and the need to get out there motivated.  Of course, I say.

As we're driving up and get to the burn area we see hillsides and patches of the blackest black charred sticks, many burned into modern art sculptures, as well as patches of untouched forest. What I didn’t expect was that, with recent rains, there were two and three feet of bright green understory setting it all off visually. Stunning. Surreal. Beautiful in its own way. And even more unexpected was a riot of color – large patches of vibrant yellow and magenta wildflowers. I bet we saw 30 different flowers as we hiked through waist-high greenery. Some I’ve rarely seen. We also saw quite a bit of bear scat, some with raspberry seeds in it (I still can’t fathom how an animal that large exists on berries and bugs). And then the raspberry patch (no bears). The berries were small but sweeeet. Thunder cracked as we hustled out, but we managed to dodge the rain.

Four and a half round-trip miles of relatively gradual up and then downhill used to be a stroll in the park for me. But I was pooped last night and can still feel it this morning. I can see I have a long way to go before I’m ready for my trip. And that getting there is going to be really good for me.

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