Saturday, March 21, 2009

From Here To (friggin') Eternity


I have the occasion to indulge in exercise to help offset my indulgence in culinary masterpieces like donuts and cake. You can guess which is winning, but I digress.
Instead of taking that exercise in my normal
venue -- my local gym -- I will, when the weather improves, opt for something more natural: a hike on a trail at a nearby 2300 acre open space park, called William Frederick Hayden Green Mountain Park.
I don't know who W. F. Hayden was, but I reckon he was part mountain goat. More on that in a bit.
From my first experience with the park in '03, to my first experience EVERY year thereafter, I have to reacclimate to the rigors of the experience. My elliptical exerciser at the gym just ain't Green Mountain. Witness my first ascent of this piece of God's Country:
Arriving at the park, I started by examining the oversized map, noting trails, elevations, and a couple of warning signs addressing proper diplomatic niceities in the event of encounters with certain wildlife residents hereabouts: rattlesnakes, mountain lions, yetis, etc. Along with the usual "make conspicuous noise, make yourself look bigger, don't run away, and don't hum the Oscar Mayer song", I was amused by the urging that if attacked, fight back.
I'll bet PETA wasn't as amused as I was, but I digress.
I didn't give much consideration to the terrain at first: it was foothills, with up and downgrades. Where I was starting from -- roughly about 5900 or so feet at the particular trail head I was at -- I would reach a summit of about 6880 feet, about 3 or so miles away. Reading this, I briefly pondered the alternative of donuts and coffee, but having come this far, I needed to to partake of the interlude with nature, and to get off my fat chair-filler, despite the lions and upgrades and hills, oh my.
Thus decided, I ventured into the great outdoors. After the first mild uphill grade of, oh, 15% or so, bringing on my first dry heaves, the trail thankfully leveled off for something like 150 yards or so, and presenting me with a distant vista of the grandeur of the Colorado Rockies. The sun was out, the temperature was moderate, the breeze was gentle. I began to believe I'd made the better choice.
Arriving at a trail fork after about a half-mile, I noted the right fork was all uphill, in the general direction of the summit of the park; the left fork led off toward C-470 and the western edge of the park, some 3.5 miles on. Deciding that the grade couldn't be as bad as that first 100 yards I'd done, I turned my bow to starboard, and was off to see the summit. The wonderful summit of Hyar.
Taking my first break after a decent interval of 100 yards -- to get oxygen and let the second set of dry heaves pass -- I noted the seemingly unforgiving nature of the terrain just off the trail, and found that the trail had been cut from that very unforgiving terrain. It was taking no pity on a novice, either.
Despite the visual vistas of God's Country all around me, as I continued an ascent that seemed to have no friggin' end to it, I noticed occasional mountain bicyclists and joggers -- younger and in better shape -- passing me up, like a muscle car passes a puttering Yugo on an interstate. I didn't mind too much being shown the chronological differences we obviously displayed, but I did take a wee bit of offense with one's shouted "passing on your left, Gramps" from the seat of a mountain bike.
If I'd had any leftover energy from my tryout for the upcoming Olympic Obscene Phonecall competition (I certainly sounded like a team member for most of my ascent), , I might have taken issue with the smartass. By the time my oxygen-starved brain cells had pondered a suitable comeback, the lad and his ride were out of sight and probably in the next area code.
Well short of the summit, which I still couldn't yet see from my (unad) vantage point, I was having to will myself onward, imagining one foot ahead of the next, and hoping my legs would follow the feet accordingly. Just when I thought I'd run out of gas and would have to stop, into my imagination stormed this severe-looking Marine DI, screaming at me "WHATSAMATTER, CANDY ASS? CAN'T CUT THIS WEENY HILL? A TROOP OF GIRL SCOUTS COULD HAVE LAPPED YOU TWICE AND SOLD 20 CASES OF FRIGGIN' COOKIES IN THE TIME IT'S TAKEN YOUR SORRY LUMP OF FLESH TO LIMP THIS FAR!!! GET YOUR GOAT-SMELLING EGG-SUCKING SORRY SHORTNESS OF BREATH MOVING!!!!"
My imagination's cold.
Thus intimidated, and just in case a troop of Girl Scouts was storming up the trail behind me, I found the strength to make onward toward the summit; I didn't want to have my oxygen-starved brain envision the imaginary DI storming back and demanding that I drop and do 50. My eventual reward: a fine, breath-taking view of the Denver Metro Area in one direction, and the C-470/I-70 corridors, along with the gateway to the Rockies, in the other direction. Since my breath was already taken by the ascent, I just stood there and waited for my obscene phonecall tryout to wind down. I was also thankful that while I stood there, sucking up enough oxygen that nearby birds were falling from the sky, I didn't see any sign of a Girl Scout troop lapping my dragging butt, with cases of cookies to hawk.
Which was just as well: I'd left my wallet in the car.
A couple of hours -- and about 6 miles -- later, I finally managed to drag myself back to the trail head, all natured out. As I limped to the car with visions of foot rubs, blister treatments and Krispy Kreme donuts in my head, I passed a young couple unloading mountain bikes from their SUV. Despite my physically depleted state, I hadn't noticed a depletion in my ornery reservoir:
Me: Enjoy the climb, but watch for those Girl Scouts up top, selling cookies; they're relentless.
Them *looking at each other, then me* You're kidding, right?
Me: *shaking my head and walking away, grinning*
The grin only got wider, knowing I hadn't warned them about that drill sergeant, either.
Which was just as well: a few more moments of getting sufficient oxygen back in my system, and I mighta felt guilty about that 'un ;-)

5 Comments:

Blogger jenniferw said...

One of your FUNNIEST EVER, SF! Bravo! *applauds raucously*

You should SO submit this somewhere for publication. I laughed out loud several times. As I am very discriminating, that is a good sign of excellent humorous writing. Yes, I'm insane, but why bring that up at such a moment?

... taking no pity on a novice ... I totally relate to that part. I'm a perennial novice at life and it takes no pity on me.

Your DI hallucination was spot on ... reminded me of Andrew's tales of BMT at Lackland.

Now gimme a donut and a box of Samoas.

21 March, 2009 08:39  
Blogger Seane-Anna said...

You hiked in a park where there was actual wildlife?! You da man!

22 March, 2009 09:19  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Seane-Anna: yep. Some of it even real wildlife ;) And from 2007 (noted on this blog), I can assure you that the rattlesnakes are NOT petting zoo quality LOL...

22 March, 2009 10:57  
Blogger Debbie said...

That's great. I hope you got your dose of mother nature until the next time, maybe next year? ha

Your advice to the couple is priceless.

Now, how many doughnuts did you eat after you got home?

Here's my (our) history on exercise. Years ago we took karate and that was really good exercise. Then we moved away and didn't find another instructor.

Move forward in time, I stared going to a gym, which is really boring by myself. I finally talked hubby, the Grouch at Right Truth, into going with me. He would walk on the treadmill, I would do double the miles he did in the same time, but that's OK. Then we would use the weight machines, then leave.

Well, he decided he liked walking in nature better, less boring. So he starts walking at a local park, poke poke poke, slow walking...

I decide this is too slow for me, I'm walking circles around him, literally. So I'm back at the gym, until one day I find out everybody in the room with me one day is an ex-con, as in criminals out of prison.

Hubby decides it's no fun walking in bad weather, so he wants a treadmill at home. I buy him one, he uses it for a few weeks, then nothing.

I have decided to get serious again about exercising. I have some hand weights, bands, and the treadmill. But I want something like a Total Gym (Chuck Norris, Christi Brinkley). That is MUCH too expensive.

I find The Total Trainer Power Pro, which is much less expensive than the Total Gym, and less expensive than going to a gym for any length of time. But I can't seem to make up my mind. Will I really use this enough to pay for it??? If I get it will it force me to use it out of guilt for the money I have spent???

I'm so confused.

Any advice anyone???

http://www.bayoufitness.com/Detail.bok?no=11

Somebody tell me to either go for it, or forget it.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

22 March, 2009 15:13  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Skunkman, you are indeed "da man". thank you for taking us along on your sojourn with nature.

I must admit I had to stop reading several times to catch my breath. Living in Kansas and suddenly finding myself more than a mile above sea level was almost more than my poor OLD frame could handle.

Now I must rest for a little while to recapture enough strength to click on the "publish your comment" button.

lmao. Not enough strength for an LMAO. Snerx.

Note for Debbie H.

Forget it. Save your money. Chase the Grouch at Right Truth around the house. Menacing with a frying pan might help him to pick up the pace. tehee. giggle. guffaw.

30 March, 2009 07:09  

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