I've been hiking for several decades, but each year when seasons change and the chill in the air hangs on both night and day, I get a little...frantic.
It's not too difficult to figure out. Here's a baby boomer in his early 50's, who has a particularly slow method of sightseeing and a life - list of hikes as long as Texas is wide. Entering each spring with new enthusiasm, and getting out - somewhere - every summer and fall weekend, by November the urge becomes panic. One more year of putting a thousand hikes on hold. The daylight is slipping away, and options for long treks dwindle with the fading sun. And I've gotta tell you - I'm tired of it.
Add to this feeling of incredible, desperate urgency the age factor. Who is this guy I see in the mirror each morning, and why is he looking at me like my Dad? Wasn't it just last January we celebrated the New Year with the Dead at Winterland, pulling an all nighter and going home with shades on to cut the glare from the rising sun? How can I still feel like such a kid?
I wonder how my parents seemed to accept maturity with so much more grace. There's something about us boomers, for sure. We don't take to this "age" crap very sensibly, or easily. And it may be why I get the feeling this time of year that time (sorry Mick), is NOT on my side. So I've reached a crossroads tonight (as I'm sitting at home when I should be at the gym but am too tired from work), figuring to get a head start on New Year's resolutions. This off - season I'm going to get out, football and other sedentary diversions be damned. Not rain or snow, nor gloom of night will keep me from my appointed rounds. Even if only for short overnight backpack trips I'm going. Daylight's short? I've got a dual - mode headlamp and know how to use it. Winter, I thumb my nose at your short days and damp tones. My next birthday will not find me learning to knit or make beer. No, I'll be gone. Outta here. Off to make a dent in that list of mine that seems to grow longer with each dawn.
So if you're reading this, and like me HATE wet, cold weather, let's make it a point to keep moving, keep exploring, keep challenging ourselves in this season formerly known as "football." Tell this aging stuff to stick it. Think young, act young and you'll be a much happier person when spring gets here and the trails groom up nicely. And you'll be able to look at them and maybe crack a little smile, as in "I knew ya when you were just a mudhole....."