After a week of trying.
My son came in for lunch today and his first words were, “I thought you were going to the mountain.” I told him I had hoped to, but. He interrupted with forget the excuses, just go. He then took his lunch and went off to eat while enjoying videos or what ever in the privacy of his room. I waited until he had finished his lunch and left for work then began to prepare.
Then my dogs began barking. I glanced out the door and saw mom approaching. She buys a large bag of assorted candy but since my son and I are the only ones who like the dark chocolate, we get all of that. She was standing talking for a moment when I told her I thought I’d take Bella and go hike the mountain. She told me that was good, that she had her car and if she needed to go anywhere she could. After a few moments she left for her house and I came back inside to finish getting ready. Bella, as usual, even without verbal confirmation had picked up on the fact we were going immediately after I started getting ready.
Soon enough, Molly was inside the house, and Bella was inside the car. She was quiet right up until the last turn before the turn into the park. The minute I stopped for the stop sign, she began crying. She was ready to hike. I pulled into a parking spot right around noon. I try to choose times when I think it won’t be too busy. Glancing around there may have been just over a dozen cars in the lot. Pulling on my ballcap, with my hair pulled through the back and out of the way, I then let Bella out. Time…to hike.
Its been over two months since we’ve been there. I did that deliberately because of the heat and her age. I could have gone early, but it never seemed to work out that I could, so, I waited. Today seemed perfect. Not long into the hike though I was glad I had chosen to wear shorts and tank top as it was definitely warm. Last I saw the temperature reached into the upper 80’s Fahrenheit. Not triple digits, but still warm when you are hiking up a mountainside.
Not quite a quarter of the way up the trail, a lady passed who made a comment about ‘that dog’. I didn’t hear exactly what she said, so I have no idea whether she was being polite or snarky. If she thought I was being cruel having her with me, she has no idea about Bella. With most pets you can’t even think the word snack or treat. With Bella, you can’t think of speak the word, mountain. If you do, and she is inside, she will be right beside her leash waiting. If she is outside, she’s at the gate looking at the car. She’s ready. I don’t dare go without her, she would know, and she would shame me fully with her oh so pitiful, how could you leave me here, acts.
She still remembered how to act though. She knew to not get in a hurry. She would check on me to make sure I was okay should the leash pull tight. She knew to move over out of the way for people, especially on the steps. She remembered ‘up’ and ‘over’ and ‘wait’. Her leash is six feet long, usually I let her walk with it stretched out. If I see someone approaching, especially if they have a dog with them, I pull her close and tell her to ‘be good’. She remembered all of it and obeyed so well.
The fact that I had not been, really showed on me. I had to stop often to catch my breath. The steps, all 336 of them, were managed only by sheer determination. I was there. I had gotten that far. I was going to make it to the top. And we did.
There really wasn’t that many people up there. Two couples who had passed Bella and me and four to six others. The view was amazing as always. It was only slightly hazing way off in the distance. I gave Bella a good drink of water and I quenched my own thirst before moving over closer to the overlook.
After taking a few photos, as is our usually habit, we began our trek down. We crossed over to where the radio tower is and the road down the mountain. It was so quiet, so peaceful. The weather was perfect, the sky clear, the peace amazing. Every time I go up there, I am reminded how much I need that hike. Not so much for the physical aspects, but the spiritual. My heart and soul finds a healing peace up there and on the walk down. The Tower Trail is longer, but that’s fine. The walk gives me time to put the civilized stuff away for a few moments as I enjoy the sounds of my footsteps, the squirrel digging about in the leaves, the occasional other park visitors as they pass then the return to solitude.
When we got back home, Bella was tired, but not as badly as she has been in the past. I know the lower heat and humidity helped. Within twenty minutes she was ready to go outside and keep an eye on the world around us. I needed to get the rest of my steps in so I went out to the side yard and made laps for a while. Currently the fitness band is reading11778, just over 5 miles. I’ll take it.
I do have to admit one other thing. I am hurting. Spending too much time sitting and not getting any movements in and then hiking a mountain. Yeah, I feel it, but, that’s okay. The thing is, there should always be at least some sign of distress when we have neglected our person. It is that, which will create a desire to do better. To eat better, to exercise, to find ways to deal with stress, to exercise our mind as well. To get the rest and sleep that we need, to stay hydrated. To seek a better spiritual awareness and understanding.
Right now, I seriously wish I had a hot tub, but a long soak in a hot bath with Epsom salt will suffice. That, and a bit of Bible study to help finish off that spiritual reset.