Flutterby™! : Bloodied, but unbowed

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Bloodied, but unbowed

2005-05-08 16:18:04.600271+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

As the end of my 37th year fast approaches, I'm faced with the realization that, statistically, my life is half over, but my life is nowhere near half complete. Whether, at the end, I choose to rage against the dying of the light, or to go gentle when I take that final bow and exit stage left, I like to know that I've got options.

Being able to reasonably assess my abilities is essential to understanding my available choices. So, every once in a while, I have to go out and pick a fight just to make sure I can still kick ass.

Someone in the hiking group suggested that we join the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council on their annual "Ridge to Bridge" hike, which comes in 30 (with over 3,000 feet of vertical), 19 and 13 mile versions. I tipped my beer into the lap of the baddest mofo in the house.

Woke up at 4, massively over-estimated the time to get out of the house and to the bridge, so I arrived at a bit before 5. Got on the bus to the start point (about 6 miles north of our house) at 5:30, and set off on foot at roughly 6:40. With an extended lunch at Pan Toll (thanks to Bill), got off the trail at just before 5, or just about 3 miles an hour total. And far enough ahead of the group that I went and got a tray full of iced lattes to celebrate their arrival.

The first half I did at the speed of my friends, I think next year I hike alone. Even though in this age of ultra-marathons this sort of distance isn't anything spectacular, somewhere around where the Coastal Trail touches West Ridgecrest Drive I realized that this hike was about proving something to myself.

Even at that, though, it was a spectacular day. It was slightly cloudy, which kept the heat down. The lower air was clear enough that you could see the Farallons in color (usually they're just indistinct blue blobs on the horizon), the wildflowers were still out and spectacular, and everything looks that much more vibrant when you're amped on adrenaline and endorphins.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Nature and environment Bay Area ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-09 03:18:51.813471+00 by: meuon

So, I've been waiting.. Did you actually get into a physical altercation involving blows? Or did you just whip them pups on the trail?

Nancy and I did the whole 'RiverWalk' yesterday on bikes, ignoring the laughable 'No Trespassing' signs and went from downtown to Chickaumauga Dam and back. Approx 12 miles round trip. I'm feeling good, it was a nice warm-up, but that was Nancy's 2nd bike ride in many years and she is sore. Still, it was enjoyable and we'll be doing more biking.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-09 04:41:05.705009+00 by: Dan Lyke

Just whupped them pups on the trail. Actually, the fastest finisher was in the 5 hour range, and next year I think I'm going to try to get it under 8. I hurt today, but I'm actually rather surprised at how well I came through it.

I don't have the brute upper body strength of my river guiding days, but distance wise I'm in the best shape I've ever been.

And, oh yeah humbling experience of the moment: One of our hiking group is 62, but one of the hikers on the 30 miler was 78. He fell somewhere in the late teens and decided to bail at the 25 mile point, but if I make it to 78 I'm really hoping I can start a 30 miler with a reasonable expectation of finishing.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-09 10:37:05.792598+00 by: meuon

I met a guy yesterday on a recumbant, in his 70's and had just finished a 62 miler the day before and was trying to gather some bikers together for a fun ride. My attitudes about the possibilities of growing older and enjoying it are sure changing.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-09 13:44:02.658047+00 by: Diane Reese

My attitudes about the possibilities of growing older and enjoying it are sure changing.

I think it's up to up to set a good example, don't you? :-)

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-09 20:47:18.146472+00 by: Dan Lyke

For the record, modern mapping technologies (as evidenced by the data on the Tom Harrison Maps maps of the route[1], along with anecdotal experiences by others carrying GPS devices) indicate that what was sold as the 13 mile hike is really a 15 mile hike, so there's a good chance that the overall distance of my hike exceeded the stated 30.1 miles by a bit.

[1] Full disclosure: Barb Harrison accompanied Lisa and Lauren in providing our lunch, so while I have looked at two of their maps and noted that they are, indeed, the most complete and accurate of the maps I've seen for the regions I have personal knowledge of that were covered by the maps I saw, it should also be noted that I'm more likely to say good things about the products of people who provide me with food.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-15 14:03:33.11177+00 by: polly

you are 37 and think your life is 1/2 over? i'm 47 and think my life is just beginning! i've met a wonderful man who i've fallen in love with...we are getting married this fall...i have become a foster parent and looking forward to a future of raising more children (just call me mother earth, lol). "he" is following me into the foster parenting scene with no reservations. what a guy!

is life at 37 the downside of the hill or just a break to the next level in life? half empty or half full? put everything into perspective and enjoy life to the fullest! dan, make love NOT war! kicking ass to see if you still "got it"? i think having a 36 hour love making session would be a more enjoyable way of finding out whether or not you still "got it", lol.

by the way...the women in my family are LONG lived. grandmother is 98 :> grandpa died with a smile on his face!

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-15 16:21:30.977221+00 by: Dan Lyke

Polly, right now average age for an adult male to live to is 74. 74/2 is 37...

Which makes a good number for philosophical musings.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-15 18:27:05.264993+00 by: Larry Burton

I think that 74 number is the average lifespan of a newborn. The older you become the older you can expect to die. Individual lifestyles also make a difference. You can try this quiz to see how long you can expect to live.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-16 00:11:21.124978+00 by: Dan Lyke

Either 79 or 88 depending on whether my choice of recrational drugs corresponds with theirs.

Which means I may have to re-think this whole retirement thing [grin].

#Comment Re: made: 2005-05-16 00:28:57.45708+00 by: meuon

The test calculates my BMI at 31.. I think that's high, but it hit 90 for me.