Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sentimental Sunday- Hiking no more?

OK, I bought into the Sentimental Sunday posts by the Geneabloggers group. I don't know how I am going to transfer this post to the list of entries by other bloggers, but I will eventually find out- one of these Sundays.

I spent a couple of hours this morning reading the Sentimental entries by other geneabloggers and they were great reads- a little bit different from some of the drier entries about genealogy and family history. They seem to focus more on intimate memories of persons and events. As I read, I kept looking in the back of my mind for some of the events in my life which are sentimental to me. The thought of hiking came to mind- actually of the time when I might have first fallen in love with hiking. I had to dig way back into both my memory and my photo albums. And I came up with the following image of some of the neighborhood kids and I hiking in the big woods near our homes in suburban Maryland. It was 1954, over fifty years ago. In the picture, we are hiking along a nearly dry creek bed. It was in the scattered puddles, that we crept up on frogs, salamanders, box turtles, and captured them for a closer look. I remember one time collecting at least 20 turtles which we took home and started a little zoo- until our parents made us release the reptiles back into the woods. That was when I first fell in love with the natural out-of-doors. However, I get sort or sad when I look at this photo, because the opportunity for this particular hike is no longer possible. A wide swath of the woods was paved over for the Beltway (I-495) of Metropolitan Washington, DC. More land was taken over for apartments and condominiums.

Hiking! I love it. I was born to hike. But the overall sentiment about this life-long love, is that it may be a thing of the past- no longer possible for me. For y'see, I have to walk with a cane now. My hiking legs have become so weak. And this is difficult to write about. I have been taking anti-androgen hormones for about 5 years now to suppress the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Testosterone is a great hormone, but the lack of it means wasted muscle tissue and its replacement by fat cells. I sometimes wonder when the time will come when I advance from hobbling on a cane to a wheel chair. But even then I believe that some adjustments can be made so that I can still "go hiking" in my beloved woods.

This summer, I was camping in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia at a place called White Rocks primitive campground. On the way to the campsites, I passed a short trail named Cherokee Flats. I pulled into the parking area and took a short walk- with my cane. The trail was quite flat and paved for most of its distance. The trail passed through a pristine forest among Rhododendrons, still showing the last blooms of late summer. The trail ended too quickly at Stony Brook creek, but long enough to experience THE HIKE.

Image: Walking slowly through the Cherokee Flats trail in Jefferson National Forest, VA


Irish Mason said...

I'm glad you shared your hiking story. I love hiking as well. I admire your spirit in continuing despite the obstacles. I wish the best for you with your health issues. It's sad to see growth and progress destroy so much beauty! I'm glad you have those memories and glad you shared them!

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Hiking is a great complimentary activity to family history research. We have lots of great trails, look much like the photos, here in the Branson/Hollister area of the Ozarks. Stop by any hike them sometime!

Keep these ancestor stories coming!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"