A Brief Respite From Artie

COVID 19 hit in March of 2020 and I was sent home to do Telework, only visiting the prison once per week to drop off work that I had corrected, and feedback that I written for my students.  I was home from March through May, so I started my walks again.  I was getting stronger and stronger, and walking farther and farther.  When we finally went back to work in the prison, I continued to hike on weekends, building up my stamina.  My 1 week vacation in Mammoth Lakes was my goal – I wanted to be able to hike everyday.

In July my vacation finally came.  I had researched the Mammoth area, looking for brief hikes, fairly flat.  While I would have preferred to camp,  we had no idea how my hip would tolerate the cold.  We ended up renting a wonderful condo.  It was very private, so we could socially distance.  Most of the restaurants in Mammoth had outdoor seating, so we were able to stay safe.

Our first hike was the hike around Convict Lake.  While there were no extreme ups and downs, it was not flat.  The lake is a beautiful, historic lake.  The Internet said that the hike was 2 miles, but I could tell, mid-hike, that is was further than that.  We did the whole thing with only 1 water/gorp break, and when we were finished, we found out that it was actually 3 miles.  I was elated!  This was the furthest that I had hiked since my surgery.   A 5K race is 3.1 miles, but it is on flat streets.  This was more of a challenge.  So I was flying and ready for the next adventure.

The next day we drove into the Bristlecone Forest across the Valley in the White Mountains.  There was a choice of 2 trails out of Schuman’s Grove Visitor Center – one was 4.4 miles and the other was only 2.  Doug was worried about getting me out too far, so I  acquiesced, and it’s a good thing I did.  The 2 mile trail  was mostly uphill, with a final drop back to the Visitor Center at the end.  My hips and legs were fine, with my only problem being a shortness of breath at 11,190 feet elevation.  Everything felt good, but I might not have made the 4.4 distance.

On our final day we hiked around Saddleback Lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.  This was another 3 miles, mostly flat.  I rarely stopped by now, and hungered for more, but alas, all things must come to an end.

The reason I call this A RESPITE FROM ARTIE is that I rarely felt him on this vacation.  All of my walking during the telework time period primed me to walk (hike) more.  When we returned home,  we continued to go up into the Sierra on weekends to hike, mostly in Sequoia.  I was starting to feel normal, but much of that was due to my pain meds.  In August I ran out of my prescription, and was told to start taking an over-the-counter drug, which is not killing the pain.  Who knows what my meeting with the surgeon will tell next week?

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