March was a weird month. I actually got outside and did exercise. That’s how weird it was.
Doesn’t sound weird to you? Talk to my doctor. (Actually, if you do talk to my doctor, you probably won’t find out anything. He’s pretty HIPAA compliant. So… just go with it.)
The weather, for those of you who just woke up from a coma, has been unusually warm. We actually got into the 80s a couple of times. That’s crazy for March around here. We had snow in March last year.
As a result of this incredibly comfortable weather, the girls and I actually got out a couple of times and took a hike on some local trails. I’m not talking about walking paths in a park, I mean actual trails in the woods with hills and stuff. If you fell off the narrow trail, you could actually have been seriously hurt. That kind of trail.
I loved it.
In fact, that’s really the only kind of exercise I enjoy lately. All other exercise seems like work. Hiking is sightseeing. Running (which my wife has picked up lately) is monotony wrapped in pain. Sports (other than tennis) take too many people to organize something worthwhile (and I’m not aware of anyone who plays tennis around here at my erratic, yet low, skill level). Any class or gym based exercise? Nothing but the opportunity to pay people to make you feel physical pain while at the same time creating the mental pain of guilt for failing to uphold the weight of obligation compounded by the waste of cash. Home-based indoor exercise? Please. Keeping my chair from floating away is infinitely more appealing.
But hiking? I’ve enjoyed hiking all my life. I used to do it much better, and much more frequently. In the Boy Scouts we went on at least one hike a month if I remember correctly, and I had the opportunity to backpack multiple segments of the Appalachian Trail and spent a couple of weeks doing that in New Mexico as well. Less formally, a friend and I used to hike random trails where we grew up, enjoying and exploring nature as we walked.
I really haven’t hiked much in the last decade and a half – maybe longer. That’s kind of sad. But my kids are now at the age where they can come with me, they have the stamina for it, and they enjoy it (and we don’t have to make a bathroom break every 10 minutes). They’re also old enough that I can trust them to pay attention when I tell them a particular section is difficult or dangerous and they need to be careful.
So out we went, three weekends in a row, marching down the trails. It was beautiful, at times challenging, and some quality time with my kids (and my wife for two of the trips). Relaxing, educational, rewarding, aerobic, and fun. Just great. I hope we can continue to find time (and have good weather) for lots more hikes this year. The challenge will be to continue finding new trails close enough to get out and back in a reasonable time. I’ve found some good resources recently, though, so hopefully that won’t be a big deal.
So, March may be over, but the marching will (hopefully) continue.