Last Friday I went on a big-ass hike up in the Santa Cruz mountains. By “big-ass” I mean “eleven miles of up and down with bits of the trail under water or hidden by fallen trees.” It totally ruled.
It was the first hike I’d gone on in years – I suffer from chondromalacia patellae, a disease which bestows upon me grinding, burning pain when I do such foolish hings as climb, sit still for too long, or kneel. Needless to say, it’s not condusive to hiking.
My companions on the hike included the bf, who has lower leg joints in even worse shape than my own. By the end of the hike, I was sorta hobbling a bit (much, much less than I expected to be, I should point out) and he was hobbling a lot. Oddly enough, though, neither of us said at any point that we wished we hadn’t come. Hell, I was really glad I went, even though I knew I’d be in pain for several days.
I suspect that a big part of our stoicism stemmed from the fact that the pain was both expected and part of the natural order of things as far as we were concerned. I mean, my knee problems appeared when I was 13 or so, and the bf’s always had his joint issues. I can barely remember what it’s like to feel the burn of exercise in my leg muscles without the accompanying pain in my knees.
This makes sense, though. Back in the day, I knew that Girl Scouts who’d never really been on a hike would resent the aches and pains of physical exertion a lot more than those of us who knew they were coming. Knowing the pain is on its way and having experienced it in the past tempers the effect of it a bit, I think.
We knew the pain was coming, and had judged that spending all day out in the Redwoods with people we liked, looking for neat wildlife and whatnot was worth it. There’s a part of me that thinks that’s sort of insane, but really that’s how everything works. Good students decide that getting top grades is worth having to give up funtime for studying. Everything’s a tradeoff, and when pain is something familiar, you can be more objective about it.
Gimping around a bit for a couple days was worth it for the list of cool schtuff we saw:
- 63 banana slugs
- 6 salamanders
- 2 millipedes
- 2 skinks
- 1 big-ass fish
- several butterflies
- loads of wild flowers
Heck, it would have been worth it even without all the nifty critters. A good time with good people is worth the achyness.