How about a respite from Statehouse stuff? I am sure ready for a change.
Saturday was the final training hike for John O’Meara, the Executive Director of the Columbus Metroparks. He’s heading off to climb Mt. Everest in two weeks.
This was my fourth time hiking with him (for the others, see Training for Mt. Everest, Rock On, and OK, I May Be Stupid After All). Obviously, he has done a lot more training than just these monthly hikes at Clear Creek. But as part of his regimen, these hikes were a chance for folks to join him on the really lengthy ones. I sure had a lot of fun hiking along.
The hike Saturday ended up being about 12½ miles. I think there were 11 of us who did the whole thing, and we were all fairly strong hikers, so we made some pretty good time. Even stopping for lunch, we did it in 4½ hours. What was amazing was that John carried a 50-pound pack for the whole thing.
Here are the the hikers:
John’s the one on the far right; his wife Helen is on the left in the red sweatshirt. The Park Manager, Ken Browne, is holding down the rear in his green ranger’s uniform. That’s the last leg of the hike, and it is along the Cemetery Ridge Trail, which is, as you may be able to tell, mostly gravel (though there were often spots on the edge I could walk on).
My feet were a bit out of shape. They were a bit sensitive near the end, but I managed.
It actually is rather annoying that they don’t harden up more. There are old accounts of Native Americans who really could handle just about anything. For instance, in Voyage autour du Monde: principalement à la Californie et aux Iles Sandwich, pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828 et 1829, by Auguste Bernard Duhaut-Cilly (1834), he wrote:
Dans les deux sexes, le pied large et carré est garni d’une corne épaisse et dure, suite de leur habitude de courir pieds nus sur les rochers et dans les broussailles.
In both sexes, the broad, square foot is adorned with a thick, hard hoof, a result of their custom of running barefooted over rocks and in the brush.
I figure I’m just not out there enough. I only average about 25 miles a month, with 1-2 hikes (if that many) each week. That’s just not enough, I guess, to build up a harder sole. I hate to mention it, but another of my problems is getting old. As one gets older, the fat deposits in the sole, which also provide quite a bit of cushioning, lessen by quite a bit. So that just makes it harder on me.
Not surprisingly, many of the other hikers had heard about my Statehouse “adventures.” I guess a number of radio stations in the area had stories.
What is so nice about hikers is that they are so totally accepting of barefoot hiking. They might not want to do it themselves, but I get none of the crap that folks like library administrators or Statehouse administrators give me. The people who run the Metroparks gave me no grief at all. I really appreciate that.
At the end of the hike, I got my picture taken with John:
Even though my feet were just a bit footsore there, obviously I was doing just find standing on the gravel parking lot (I just couldn’t move very fast on it).
OK, so Saturday evening my feet were a bit footsore. So, what did I do on Sunday?
Played my usual two hours of tennis, of course. No big deal.