Thursday, November 14, 2019

National Take a Hike Day is November 17th

Taking a hike is a great idea, but this year on National Take a Hike Day, November 17th, I will be six days post-total-knee-surgery. Taking a hike will consist of trips to the physical therapist three days a week and trips to the bathroom or kitchen on weekends and non-PT days.

Pixabay

However, when I’m mobile again, taking a hike might include one of the wonderful natural areas or walking trails in my own Northern Colorado town, a more ambitious climb into the small hills to the west, or even a real hike up the big hill to look out over Horsetooth Reservoir in Larimer County.

I’m more of an armchair hiker these days than a real adventure-seeker, so reading about extreme hiking or watching a film or two helps give me a sense of life outside my neighborhood walks.

One of my favorite reads is A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson  The trail stretches from Georgia to Maine over 2100 miles of this beautiful country. I once had a dream of walking this trail but when my sister-in-law and a couple of her friends decided to give it a try, they lasted less than a week before someone fell and sprained an ankle and their adventure ended. I decided then to stick with reading Bryson’s version which is very funny and not a bit painful.

Heading to the west coast for a long hike, you could try the Pacific Crest Trail described in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I liked the book, but it has a very different tone and lacks the extremely funny anecdotes Bryson told so well.

One of the best known books is Into the Wild by climber Jon Krakauer, about a hike into the Alaskan wilderness by 22-year-old Chris McCandless.  I won’t tell you anything about that story because if you love outdoor adventures, you’ve probably already read the book or watched the film. Krakauer also wrote Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster.

Those giant mountains like Everest are mystical heights I can only dream about. I follow climber, motivational speaker, and author Jim Davidson on Facebook as he hikes and climbs, tackling a small trail one week and a Colorado fourteener another. The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival, written by Jim with journalist Kevin Vaughn, is a terrifying tale of a Mount Ranier descent gone horribly wrong. Jim survived to climb again, but if you want to read a truly terrifying tale of survival, I highly recommend this book. On the Facebook page you can also learn more about Jim’s two attempts to summit Everest and his inspirational advice to achieve resilience and accomplish goals.

There’s an amazing story behind an upcoming memoir by Susan Spann, a mystery author and literary attorney who experienced a profound life disruption that led to her giving up the practice of law, undergoing a long period of treatment for breast cancer, and a move to Japan to continue writing her mystery series and as a side project, climb 100 summits in that beautiful country.

I first met Susan at a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference before she found an agent and launched her Hiro Hattori Novels (Shinobi Mysteries) featuring master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo. It’s a wonderful series, especially if you love exotic locations and fascinating history.

Climb: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan will release in January 2020 and can be pre-ordered right now.

I read these books and watch the films and marvel at the determination, training, and persistence it takes to tackle the big hikes. But once I’ve been through all that physical therapy to rehab my knee and set on my first adventure, I suspect it will be a short walk on one of our many park and natural area trails in town. They’re mostly flat, paved, and close to civilization. That’s the hike for me, at least until good weather and a well-recovered knee.

Are you a hiker? Where do you like to do your walking, hiking, or climbing?


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is also now available in a large print edition. Her short story, “Good Work for a Girl,” will appear in the Five Star Anthology, The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West, scheduled to be released in November 2019.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was recently interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.

7 comments :

  1. Thinking of you, Pat. Hope you are recovering well. xo

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  2. Thanks, Elle. Got home from the hospital yesterday and will start PT on tomorrow (Friday). I won't say I'm having fun, just taking the recovery one day at a time.

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  3. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and return to the trails.

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  4. Hoping the surgery helps you live with less pain, Pat. My step dad had both done and was very pleased with it. Good luck on the recovery! :O)

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  5. Having been in your situation, the best advice I can offer is do whatever they tell you to do. PT is the key. As far as hiking, I do well to make it around my neighborhood. My path is about a mile, and it's just enough. Speedy recovery, Pat.

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  6. Sending wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery, Pat. A significant reduction in pain definitely improves the quality of life. My brother had both knees done at the same time, had a quick and excellent recovery, and was again able to do the things that had become intensely painful before the operation. He was in his 70s when the surgery was performed.

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  7. Thanks, everyone, for kind and supportive words. I'm looking forward to some good hiking in the spring, so bring on that physical therapy.

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