Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fat, Forty-Something, and Fed Up

Once upon a time, I was lean. I hiked. I canoed. I loved getting outdoors. I loved the fresh air.

That was a long time ago. 2 marriages, 1 kid, 1 step-kid, one career about which I have some doubts, and way more pounds of excess weight than I care to discuss right now. I lead far too sedentary a life, and get very little exercise. I had my 46th birthday in March, and during the days before that not-too-auspicious event, I have been turning this idea over in my head.

By the time I'm 50, I want to climb all 48 of the New Hampshire 4000 foot mountains. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe that's an utterly unrealistic goal. Nevertheless, it IS a goal, and one I want to stick too. If I don't climb all of them by the time I'm 50 - so what? I'm not planning on dropping dead then.

I can say that I've gotten one done. When I was 18 I climbed Mt Moosilauke at the end of my freshman trip before starting at Dartmouth. The experience did not help my outdoorsiness (it's like truthiness, but with lots of bugspray and sunscreen). My trip leader was a very - very - healthy young woman who talked us into "taking the fast way up" the steepest trail. Did I mention she was a future Olympic medalist who used to train by *running* up that trail? I made it. Eventually. For my purposes now, though, I'm saying that doesn't count. But I'll probably save it for last.

There's a lot of work I have to do, and a lot I need to learn or re-learn - flatland hiking in Michigan and Ohio woods is NOT hiking the White Mountains. Before I can even start climbing I need to get back to the right level of basic aerobic fitness - no small task. Time to start walking.

I need help. I need advice, encouragement, support, commiseration. I know one thing - I can't do this alone. ANY advice, information, suggestions, will be truly welcomed. But I'm not kidding when I say I am starting from a *very* low point of health. I believe I've got a lot to do before I can think about tackling even some of the lower 2000 footers in the southern areas of the state. Suggestions on which are the best trails up Mt. Adams are welcome and interesting information - about 2 years from now.

My first goal is to get into enough shape to climb Blue Job Mountain, which has some real advantages for me. First it's only a little over 1500 feet. Second, it's very close to my home -- a day hike, but also only a few minutes drive to the trail head.