So, it turns out that doing a thing and writing about doing the thing are indeed difficult to maintain in tandem; but the 35 Trails project is alive and well.
Here is an update — just in time for Christmas! (Or “holiday of your choice” or “cold time of year best spent somewhere far away and warm” – whatever your bent may be.)
First of All, Thank You
Friends and family have been so generous, and we are about 1/7th of the way to the arbitrary fundraising goal I set for the project based on my current age. I can’t say thank you enough. That I can say, hey, I’m doing a not-particularly-impressive number of trail trips this year, please give your money to this cause, and people actually WILL blows my mind just a little, and reminds me to be more generous, because my friends have set a high bar. I have also never been short on hiking, skiing or canoeing partners who have seemed happy to share the trail, and some time, with me, at whatever pace I’m capable of. It’s been wonderful. So, know that I am deeply grateful to all of you. And deeply touched by so many who ask for updates, because they are good at remembering what’s going on in my life.
The Trails Are Adding Up
We’ve come a long way from that first, gentle nature walk – by my count, I’m up to 16 trails. Distances have ranged from a few kilometers to 16, and I’m hoping to add some longer trips with greater elevation as my fitness keeps improving.
I’ve canoed in Ontario and ski toured (my first time on skis in 2 years) in Squamish. I’ve brought a boy on my favourite hike, and then gone back on my own when things didn’t work out – new memories can replace old, especially when you have a terrible memory like mine. I’ve hiked with my little niece, and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get out with my brand new nephew before the year is out. I’ve spent a lot of time on the North Shore, and about as much time in the Sea to Sky. I’m looking forward to more ski touring, and I’m thinking about signing up for a 25km trail race next fall.
None of these things felt possible a year ago.
When I started this, I didn’t know how hard or easy it would be. I had barely exercised over the past year, and when I did, it mostly resulted in weeks- or months-long bouts of fatigue. When I started this adventure, I was feeling better, but I had no way of knowing whether or not the good times would last because I never quite figured out what was wrong, or what cured it. (I have my suspicions, but no way of confirming them, save to reverse what I’ve tried, and see if I get sick again – not happening.)
I chose the number 35 because that was my age, but also because it felt like a challenge that I could just maybe live up to. I didn’t set any limits on the type of trail, or the distance, because I didn’t know if the gentle nature walk would remain at the limit of my abilities.
I am glad to report that things are continuing to improve. I still get sore a lot, because doing nothing for a year is hard on a body, but I am capable of both longer days and greater intensity, which is the real marker for me. When I tentatively participated in that first yoga class last spring, and spent most of it in child’s pose, I hoped I could get to this place, and I will never again take for granted the miracle of ordinary fitness. To be able to do something hard, feel tired, and then not only recover but have that thing get less hard over time is giddying.
I hope it’s clear just how grateful I am, for my friends, my family and my health.
Give a Gift Twice!
If you haven’t yet, and you’re thinking you might want to, please consider donating to the 35 Trails Project (just click the link below!). All of every donation goes straight to Forest and the Femme, to help them help women get outside. Better yet, make a donation on someone else’s behalf, as a gift – the gift that gives twice!
Finally, I’m planning lots of not-epic ski tours, hikes and trail runs in the New Year, so get in touch if you’d like to come along!
Peace, Love and Joy