Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What a Difference.

Four years gone.

Looking Glass Rock, June 2004.

In 2004 I began to take time to seriously explore the North Carolina high country. I'd wake up in the mornings on my day off, drive for several hours to the place of my choice, go on an extended hike, and then drive back to Charlotte as night fell. Now it's late 2008, and I rarely do that anymore. Why?

Fuck. I'm gettin' old.

I wouldn't have thought just those few years would make such a big difference, but they have. The last few times I've tried that stunt of getting up early, hitting the road, hiking, and driving back, I've been left so drained that it was all I could do to barely function for days after. So I've had to alter the way I go on my hiking trips. These days I have to make my hikes part of a multi-day adventure.

Thus, the addition of the travel trailer to our household. Sometimes we rent a lodge room or a cabin, but the result is the same. I can drive leisurely to our destination, recuperate from the drive, exhaust myself hiking and climbing, then return to our temporary abode and hit the sack. I'm looking forward to the day when I can retire and not have to worry about such things, but I don't know when this will happen. Not too late, I hope.

I had a great time on these single-day jaunts from 2004 through 2006. But by 2007 I was already slowing down. It's not the hiking that gets to me, but the long drives. So I raise a toast to the days when I could push like crazy to find a little bit of peace in the mountains.

Now, 2008 is all but gone. I hope to take a few more hikes before 2009 rolls in, but I doubt I'll go raging down the highways bound for some obscure trailhead that'll take me to a great waterfall or some isolated mountain peak. Nope. Time to face facts and confess that time is having its way with me. I'm starting to show my age, no matter how much I want to keep climbing like a kid.

2004 Bob on Cook's Wall, Hanging Rock State Park.
(Yep, the drop is as high as it looks.)

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