Bald Mountain

The trail to Bald Mountain is only a few blocks from my house, a five or six mile round trip journey to the highest point in the local vicinity. I used to like to climb up there at least once a week to see all the birds and enjoy the tranquility up there. From there the traffic can no longer be heard at all and almost no one ever  goes up there.

Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain

It was about one year ago that Tricia lost the use of her legs and I had to care or be within a short distance in case there were problems, unless of course I could get someone to sit for her. But people are busy and a sick person hooked up to oxygen hoses is a scary prospect, so I pretty much just sat on my butt for a year. Getting  back into shape this month has been a challenge. Weak and stiff muscles and bones don’t want to respond to the challenge as quickly as they used to.

But I have been diligently hiking the lower trails and my strength is coming back. There is a saddle between two peaks that is the next step from the lower trails and is on a pretty steep incline. Successfully made that climb a few times recently, so yesterday when I got there I felt pretty good and decided to just go for it. Yesterday was the first time in over a year that I had been there, I did it. I made it to the top of Bald Mountain. And I think it was some kind of breakthrough.

I didn’t spend the entire time on the hike thinking about the past, only of the tranquility of the present and some of the future. I noticed that I was just enjoying the fact that I had no place to be, no one calling me on the cell phone, nothing to hurry back down the mountain to take care of. In fact, feeling no guilt at all, I just turned the stupid phone off. There was peace to be found on the mountainside yesterday and my nature therapy seems to have finally paid off. For some, a lot of talking is the proper therapy. For me, some quality alone time in the woods is the best therapy.

The view from the top is magnificent and teeming with wildlife, albeit mostly quite diminutive, especially during the day. The birds were singing loudly and happily and hawks soared high above. The sound of the breeze in the pines is very soothing and the solitude therapeutic. The Mosquito Mountain Range is visible off to the west and Pikes Peak looms overhead to the south. The Rampart Range and Devil’s Tower provide the panorama to the north. The exercise was great and I’m looking forward to many more treks to the top of Bald Mountain. It makes me want to say to the world, “I’m back!” 🙂

Social Running

If I could think of a year in my life that reminds me of this one it might be 1986. The year 1985 had been a particularly tough one and as a result of all the stress I was losing a lot of sleep. At the time I was way overweight from physical inactivity and wasn’t exercising at all after having finished four months of 12 hour days at the end of a major software delivery project. I had just gone through a divorce, was broke and missed my kids terribly.

trail running

Winter trail running

What followed was an amazing journey from from the lowest point in my life to one of the highest. I guess you could say that 12,600 feet of elevation on the top of Hope Pass in the Leadville Trail 100 would be considered a high point! On a dark and hopeless evening in 1986 I decided to do something positive and dragged out a pair of worn out Nike running shoes to plod out my first mile in many years. By April I had built up enough miles to run my first 10K, the Run for the Make a Wish Foundation in Wash Park, Denver.

Like then, last year’s battle against Tricia’s cancer left almost no time for exercise and once again I’m not in the physical condition that I would like to be. So this year again has me working on a training plan and I am thinking others may be thinking of taking the plunge as well and have been writing some Examiner articles on this year’s running scene. Fellowship with other runners is a big part of motivation so this winter I am highlighting the subject of Social Running and will be interviewing Jamie from the University Village Colorado Running Club for my next Examiner article. So stay tuned, 2015 is going to be a great year for running! Click the subscribe to author button at the bottom of each article or the subscribe button on my Examiner profile and you will receive an email each time a new article goes live so you don’t miss anything!