Thursday, December 17, 2009


When we --- Shelley and I --- were younger, we aspired to greater things. For example, tonight, while working to digitize my library, I came upon a book we purchased not that long ago, probably in 2003. The title of the book is To the Top, Reaching for America's Fifty State Summits. That was one of our dreams. We, however scaled it down, probably even well before we ever made the purchase of that book. We decided we were going to reach the summit of the highest points in each county of the State of Utah. We proceeded, and I can't remember exactly how many peaks we actually climbed --- it wasn't too many, but a few --- but even that was beyond us.

For one thing, we took our daughter with us on the hikes. She has cerebral palsy, which includes a partial paralysis on her right side and epilepsy. That was one complicating factor that made our reaching all of the peaks impractical, among others. Of course, we could have just left our daughter home for those peaks that were too dangerous for her to come along. But the other complication was that ascending some of the peaks was "too scary" for my wife. For example, we walked to within a few hundred feet of the top of Mount Tipanogos, a few rocks loosened by some hikers above us came crashing down, and we didn't get to finish the hike. Willard Peak required some scrambling near the very top. That, too, was beyond my wife's courage.

Nonetheless, Shelley is the one who loves to hike. Give her a trail that winds, and you can't stop her, because she needs to see what's around the next corner. Now, as we grow older, she goes and goes much more than I do, but even then she is curtailed by the deterioration of her spine due to osteoporosis and the heavy strain it puts on her lungs.

However, probably the determining factor in us having given up was my fault. We were hiking the highest peak in the county up by Bear Lake. The trail takes off of the side road off from the road that goes through Logan Canyon over to Bear Lake. We found the trail all right and climbed up to the top with our daughter and found the peak. Then, in my manly wisdom, I decided we could take a shortcut, and we became disoriented and wandered around for unnecessary hours, tiring us out and precipitating plantar fasciitis in my foot. With the bone spur, I wasn't ready to go for a long time after that, at least until the next year. By then, some of the fire had gone out of our enthusiasm for the project.

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