My Best

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

My Best

performance
is never my best
unless it includes
my best preparation
and training.

If I bring it all
to the mountain
and leave it all
anywhere between
the base and the summit

I’ll be satisfied with my performance.

The Limits of Technology

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

It’s a good thing that I didn’t bet anything
the day after my 10th birthday
when I raced a bossy 8th grader, Dale
in the gym in my new Keds shoes.

I couldn’t run any faster
or jump any higher than when I was nine
and had none of the super powers
Keds Shoes people showed on TV.

Today’s trekking gear however performs
pretty much as advertised –
ultra thin sock liners, 5x wool socks,
hiking boots all designed to wick

away the sweat of the hike
and spirit away chaffing and blisters.
The gear works but my baby soft
60 year old wrinkled feet

have discovered the limits of today’s
technology. It took hours, miles, weeks,
and weight for the discovery,
but now, I get to try out tuff skin.

Lost and Found

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Putting one foot in front of the other
for hours
and miles
a day, each day
is bound to lead somewhere.

I clop, clop across,
a wooden walking bridge
spanning the Minnehaha Creek
and discover
something I lost.

I can no longer do giant swings on a high bar
or flying summersaults
or even run any significant distance,
but I can train to walk up a 19,000 foot mountain
and feel the same satisfaction at the summit.

Lost in a Lost World

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

slow steps uphill
slow steps downhill
slow and steady steps
on the flat paths

alone
hiking across the day
from sunrise toward sunset
I’m no longer bored with myself

I just ignore me
and the repetitive
mental chatter hushes
and falls into silence.

I’m a creature
of the green space
making its way like a mud hen
back and forth along the river.

To hike across the day I must leave
at the door my Type-A objectives and goals
and strap on 4 liters of water, lunch,
a change of clothes, something for cold mornings

something for warm afternoons.
A nap in long grass on the edges of a glade
with only the sun keeping an eye on me
trains the mind.

There’s no going anywhere fast
hiking.
Don’t fight it.
It’s a day in a life – don’t rush it.

Excess Baggage Fees

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Three liters of water
equals 6.6 pounds
according to Google.

The water bladder named Camelbak
is strapped to my back
at the shoulders in a day pack.

It’s the first weight, other than my own,
that I’ve carried along the hiking trails
that crisscross South Minneapolis.

Don’t believe everything
you read on Internet
my shoulders and legs complain.

Figures appear in my thoughts
as I follow the path that tracks the creek bed.
20 pounds (the fat I need to lose)

+ 40 pounds of gear and provisions
(the weight I ultimately need to carry)
= things are only 1/2 as bad as they are now.

These Boots are Made for Trekking

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Leather boots, wool socks, gaiters, trekking poles –
a hiker’s best friends.

I drove once, six hours in a snowstorm,
with a shoestring tied to my windshield wiper
so I could pull the wiper across the glass
to clear the snow. I was much younger then.

I’m no longer immortal.
I run my plastic money card
through the plastic money card reader
and bring home the first of my gear.

In my shoestring days
I’d have tried to climb this mountain
in my tennis shoes and cotton gym socks.
And who knows, perhaps I would have lived.

But my family and friends have doubts
about my sanity
so I am going “by the book”
and buying the recommended gear

despite that fact that in a small corner of my mind
hangs a picture of a stereotypical housewife
on a shopping spree
to distract from her depression.

Addiction

Friday, March 27th, 2015

I’ll never top that trip – the trip of a lifetime is over – with more of a lifetime to live.

A dozen days on horseback across the steppes of Mongolia last summer

an exotic culture
majestic landscapes
a tireless horse
a disappearing lifestyle
great camaraderie

all garnished with the endorphins harvested at the edges of one’s physical limitations.

How can I top that trip?

At sixty years old, I didn’t expect a satisfying answer.

Take a look at this

a friend said, handing me a picture of a mountain in Africa.
I remember being polite –
I don’t do much hiking and vertigo is a real problem.

I must be addicted to something.