Published July 31st, 2007
As I look around my fair city and surrounding area, I’m baffled how I managed to take such a long break from exercise. We have hundreds of miles of trails for running, hiking and biking (both road and mountain); mountains galore for downhill and cross-country skiing; myriad waterways for kayaking; a plethora of lakes for swimming and diving; both natural and man-made rock walls for climbing — you name it — Seattle teems with opportunities.
Prior to moving here my fitness activities were somewhat limited. I enjoyed biking and swimming, but nothing too strenuous. I hiked regularly while living in Juneau, Alaska, but my trips were always short day trips (although given the mountainous terrain, they were far from easy). Once in Seattle I started running, but again, it was fairly limited (it tapered off after I ran a half marathon in the early 90s). I then got into mountain biking, but gave that up after a couple of years.
My darling has always been physically fit (we met through mountain biking), so in the beginning of our relationship we were quite active. He loves being out in the middle of nowhere, so when he suggested a hike, I jumped at the chance. However, given it had been years since I strapped on hiking boots, we decided to take a day hike closer to home. The Granite Mountain trail seemed perfect: it’s 4 miles long with a 3,800 elevation gain. It not only offers spectacular views, the trailhead is less than an hour from Seattle.
I was rather fit at the time (I’m not too sure of the year — but I believe it was 9 or 10 years ago), so the climb didn’t bother me. However, about an hour in I started feeling blisters on my heels. Unfortunately I carried no moleskin with me; I just soldiered on. A half hour later (slightly more than halfway up) I couldn’t bear it any longer; my heels were burning in pain. Although disappointed, we decided it best to turn around.
The next time we tried the trail — not sure if it was the same summer or the next — we brought a friend along. But we got started late and she had to get back to town by early evening. We made it to approximately the same spot as the first time and decided we better head back. We were jinxed!
Fast forward to the present.