Note: One of the best things about having this published in my local paper is that I've had a handful of people come up to me and express their opinion that I'm not overweight. I assure them that according to the government/insurance height and weight tables I'm plenty overweight. People are so nice!
Everyone has a claim to fame. Mine is that up until a couple months ago I was Google’s number one overweight housewife. Meaning, if you typed the terms “overweight housewife” in a Google search, my blog was the first result listed. I should be embarrassed about that, but I’m not. Something in my personality makes me perfectly willing to look bad if it will help someone else feel better.
I’m bringing my strange sense of altruism to the pages of this newspaper. This year I’m planning to go on two showshoe/hiking outings each month in training to climb the Wellsville Mountains in early September. Basically I’ve subscribed to the idea that things which don’t kill you will make you stronger. Or at the very least, they’ll help you drop a few pounds.
My journey to the top of the Wellsville Mountain range started with a little hike up Green Canyon. I chose this hike first for two reasons. One, I’m familiar with it. I’ve done it before. And two, it’s fairly easy. I didn’t want to keel over from a heart attack on my first outing.
The next hike on my list was Bunchgrass to White Pine Creek trail, but it worked out better for my hiking companions to meet at the Cherry Creek Canyon trailhead instead. Part of getting in shape means being flexible, right? Until I can literally bend over backwards, changing my hiking plans will just have to do.
The Green Canyon and Cherry Creek Canyon hikes had a lot in common. Both followed a road that’s passable by truck during non-winter months. Both took place on sunny, clear days. Both trails were packed, allowing us to ditch our snowshoes. Both hikes were fairly short, lasting less than three hours. And on both hikes we were accompanied by our dogs, who alternated between racing ahead and charging straight back at us. Every time they ran at me I’d stop for a second and brace myself for impact. Four knee surgeries are enough for me, thank you very much. I wasn’t about to let an exuberant dog disable me at the beginning of my hiking career.
I’ve been tempted to use my upcoming hikes as an excuse to go shopping for things like a hydration pack, another pair of hiking boots and some stylish, breathable outdoor-oriented togs. But the truth is, I already own most hiking essentials: the 2004 edition of Jim Sinclair’s book, Cache Trails, broken-in hiking boots, a large fanny pack, water bottles that don’t leak and plenty of clothes to wear in layers. Tina Pierson, one of my hiking buddies, has embraced the wisdom of dressing in layers when hiking. On the Cherry Creek outing she said, “I have on so many layers that my pants could fall down, and I wouldn’t even know it.”
With two hikes now under my belt (not that I’ve really worn a belt in the last 10 years), I’ve made some happy discoveries. First, I’ve noticed that hiking gets me wrapped up in the moment. When I’m huffing and puffing up a hill surrounded by snow-cloaked mountain maples and glistening snow fields, I’m not thinking about the endless to-do list that awaits me at home. For a few hours I’m simply focused on putting one foot in front of the other while trying to absorb as much beauty as possible.
I’ve also noticed that after only two hikes I’m feeling stronger. Not just physically, but mentally too. I’m proving to myself one hike at a time that being an overweight housewife with a bum knee can’t stop me from living a healthy lifestyle.