I spent the past weekend in a training creating a life vision for 20 years out. Many people were working on health in the body and envisioning themselves traveling in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Listening to them, I realized that I was doing what they were trying to imagine. They were not sure it was possible. I knew it was possible, and I knew how to create that physical capacity in the body. For me, it was real. I was living my life and having adventures. Imagine that!
At the age of 75, I signed up for a women’s hiking trip in Jordan. I was especially excited to have a goal that motivated me to train. And train I did. I increased my arm and leg strength with weight training. I improved cardio by walking hills in my neighborhood. Walking five sets a day from the top of one hill and up the other side and back to the top got me about 8,000 steps and a cardio challenge.
I was told we would hike 4 to 9 mile each day with an elevation of around 1200 feet at most. It sounded doable.
On day one, as we left the van and walked down the side of the highway toward this rocky scene, I realized that what the tour meant by “hiking” and what I meant by “hiking” were not the same. We had two very different definitions of “hiking”.
On this trip “hiking” meant rock scrambling and climbing up and down boulders of every size.
Something had been lost in translation.
This is what we were walking into. I was at the edge of my comfort zone in the first 15 minutes.
I had not trained for rock scrambling. I had not practiced with my 15 lb. backpack.
Strength and cardio were not the issue. The issue was balance. To survive this experience balance was essential. Balance changes totally when you are walking on uneven surfaces. As you can see from the picture, each step presented a new uneven surface. My feet, ankles, knees, hips and brain had to reorganize and recalibrate with each step. I could have practiced by walking on uneven surfaces, but nothing in my area would have matched what we did for four to nine miles every day. We climbed thousands of steps, each one different. From small wet stones to towering boulders.
Was I freaked out?
Here is a big “screaming down the wadi” thank you for our wonderful guides. Each of them kindly pulled me up from in front and pushed me up from behind. Often, they told me step by step where to put my feet.
Here I am climbing up a rock wall on the side of a waterfall.
Yes, that is me.
Then we went further up to another waterfall. I found my way back down with the assistance of a rope and harness. Actually that was the easy part of that “hike”.
Finally we walked out of the wadi and back up the side of the highway to our van.
Guess what was on the other side of the highway.
The Dead Sea.
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