Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Couldn't Let It Conquer Me

So I went back.

Back to Skyline Trail, where I fell off a cliff and ruined my body forever.

Okay, melodrama aside, I fell off some rocks I was scampering on and sprained my ankle. But it was a really bad sprain - 3 torn ligaments. I was on crutches for 3 weeks and it hurts even now, 12 weeks later. It definitely put a damper on the second half of my summer. I refused to let it get me down mentally, but it was a bummer not to participate in all the hiking and backpacking I had planned.

Fortunately it didn't stop me from leading the fall fire field trips - a 2.5 mile hike - though it was a challenge at times. Now, even though my ankle aches and stiffens up at the slightest exercise, I feel confident that I can do anything on it. Gingerly, but anything.

So I knew I needed to conquer Skyline before the summer ended. Columbus Day, a day off that dawned a magnificent sunny blue sky and an unheard of 50 degrees: a day to hike! To put old adversaries to rest!

Rachel, Emily and I hiked to the tippity top of the trail. From there the view is spectacular. Could we see Denali? Maybe that huge white beast way past Anchorage is her, visible 700 miles away only because of refraction.

The recent wind storm knocked all the leaves off the trees, and even knocked a huge cottonwood across the trail. Despite the bizarre warmth and lack of snow at the upper altitudes, fall has indeed passed us by. Only the last vestiges cling, a few moldy spots of yellow in an umber landscape. It feels like resolution; it feels like time to leave.

Dried seed pods and crisp brown flower petals crinkle along the trail and invite thoughts about fertility, decay, cycles and seasons. It feels right to be a woman today. It feels right to be three strong women on a mountain top, bareing ourselves to the view and the wind and the turning tides.

From my ankle's point of veiw, the exercise was anticlimatic. The way up presented no challenge. On the way down, thanks to the tension and precision needed to keep myself from waah-tumbling down the mountain, both feet cramped up, but I kept moving, and soon we were eating yummy veggies, homemade hummus, and green hempseed butter. Our bodies felt good! fresh! alive!

It was a good day.

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