” I will go as far as I can go and this ain’t it”
I would like to begin by introducing the cast of the main characters involved in the making of this incredible story of companionship, encouragement, achievement and survival…
Donna: #2 Spouse-In-Law, F *
* This classification may require some explanation, so here it is:
- I have several sets of married children. Each of their spouses is my son/daughter-in-law.
- Carrying through the logic of the “in-law” tradition and extrapolating it out to the respective parents of the in-law in the equation (as I see it, anyway), this gives these particular parents some sort of pseudo-spousal relationship with the parents of the other spouse in the marriage.
- Hence, I refer to these parents as “Spouses-In-Law”.
- Being as I have several sets of S-I-L, I find it necessary to differentiate each set from the other, and then within each set, from each other.
- I just figured that it would be simplest to number them in the order in which we all became related, so, in this case, Donna is the female half of the second set of S-I-L to connect as clan members with Judy and me.
- The order number has no reflection on any preference on my part, just on when our kids were married relative to when the others were married.
- And, as you may have already discerned, the “F” would normally be associated with an “M” and would indicate the gender of the party in question within that parenthoodship.
Megan: Shawn’s wife, my daughter-in-lawBrian: Megan’s brother (I have not yet fully developed the relationship classification at this level. And I don’t think you want me to here, but I am thinking something like “#2 Son-In-law, once removed).)*Lauren: Brian’s fiance (#2 Fiance-in-law, once removed? #2 Future Daughter-In-Law, twice removed?)
Nicole: Friend of Megan, Shawn, Donna, Brian, Lauren and me (we’re just friends – honest – so that makes it simple)Shawn: My middle son and third child all around.
Judy: my wifeBob: #2 Spouse-In-Law, MMadeline Rose: Most beautiful baby in the galaxy*I began writing this on July 16, 2011. It is now October 29, 2011. Lauren has married Brian, which now would (if I go with this convention) make her #2 Daughter-in-law twice removed.
I completely shattered a record on Friday! I really did! A speed record, no less!
I made the round trip Half Dome hike faster than any human (in the 450 to 550 pound weight class) has ever done it before!
There are, for most people, about 100,000 steps in the round trip, up and back, to and from the very tippy-top of Half Dome. How do I know this? I know this because, 5 years ago, two of my closest friends and I did the Panorama Trail hike. That’s about 8 miles from the top of Glacier Point to the bottom of Yosemite Valley.
Dave and I had just purchased some pretty good quality pedometers, and had them fired up and zeroed out when we began our descent. When we got to the end of the trail, we had piled up 47,000 steps.
Half Dome is a 17 mile round trip, so when you add all of that up it comes out to about 100,000 steps.
For most people…
But, friends, I’m here to tell you that I am not most people. Oh, I keep the same “normal” human being pace as everybody else on the way up, but about two hours into the return trip I begin to walk like ET. For me, you have to add about 50,000 steps.
BUT, and this is important, there are mitigating factors in play here..
For one, I only had my “uphill” boots with me. (Actually, I think I’ll just stick with this one for now. If I need more excuses later on, I’ll throw in as many as I deem necessary to make me not look incompetent.) What the heck is an “uphill” boot and why does it matter? And does it mean that there are also “downhill” boots? And if so, where were mine? And who in their right mind carries two pairs of boots when they go hiking?
In answer to the last question, I would just like to say, “Me”.
In answer to the other questions:
Q: What are “uphill” boots?
A: “Uphill” boots are otherwise normal hiking boots, and have the following qualities:
- They look really cool on the shelf and on the trail.
- They cost over $150.00.
- They grip granite and other natural products with the ferocity of a pit bull with his jaws clenched around a burglar (or a canary, for that matter).
- Generally, they will keep your feet dry.
- AND they are about two sizes too short for the length of your toes.
It’s this last attribute that makes “uphill” boots phenomenal for going uphill, but absolutely horrifying for the trip back.
Q:Does this mean that there are also “downhill” boots?
A: Yes, there are downhill boots. They have the following attributes:
- They don’t look nearly as cool as “uphill” boots. In fact, they are sort of plain.
- They usually cost about $50.00 (at least mine did).
- They grip granite and other natural products more than well enough to prevent you from killing yourself trying to walk on said products.
- Generally, they will keep your feet dry.
- They are well broken in and extremely comfortable.
- They also make wonderful “uphill” boots.
- AND they fit so that your toe nails will not go ramming into the front of the shoe with every step on a decline of more that .0005 degrees.
It’s this last quality that makes “downhill” boots so great for downhill hikes, but also wonderful for going uphill.
Q: Where were my “downhill” boots?
A: They are in “downhill” boot heaven – they went there when the house burned down.
And a special bonus question and answer…
Q: If “downhill boots are great in either direction, why did I even have “uphill” boots?
A: They cost over $150.00. You figure it out from there.
One last thing before we get started here – When I started writing this, I had just survived (pretty much for the third time since July, 2005) the Half Dome trip. Interestingly, shortly after I began writing I spent a few weeks in the hospital because I survived (pretty much for the third time since July, 2005) the Half Dome trip. Had I done what I should have done (die) at the time I should have done it (before I survived it), I would never have started writing this and I wouldn’t have to pick up from where I wouldn’t have left off in the first place.
But, alas, it was not to be. I did, in fact, survive; and I did, in fact, start writing the very day after the survival. That being the case, I need to offer a slight disclosure statement:
Because my kidneys failed, and because I think they are somehow attached directly to my brain, I may not remember everything the way it happened. (I am probably wrong, so you can pretty much accept every word as gospel. I just want to give you an out so you don’t have to feel stupid if you end up believing that I actually beat everybody down the trail and back to camp.)
OK – so now we have that out of the way and we can get started…
Hmmm.. Well isn’t this embarrassing… After all that build up and ground work laying, I don’t seem to remember anything about that hike right now, except for the words “I’ll go as far as I can go and this ain’t it.”…
Well, let me think about this for awhile and I’ll get back with you…
Sorry about that…