Yesterday our basic climbing class embarked on its final conditioning hike. The goal was Mt. Defiance, the highest point in the Columbia River gorge. Students were to carry one-fifth of their body weight in their backpacks and expected to hike up this steep trail at 1000 feet per hour. On Thursday I had a Sport Medicine Doctor take a look at my knee. He had X-rays taken, poked at prodded, and then twisted my leg various directions. He did not think there was any serious injuries and I was free to return to my various activities as I saw fit. He did caution to not take any long hikes this weekend. Our team leader asked if I would join the group and stay with one student who was slow and not expected to summit. He pointed out to me that part of Leadership Development was learning to work with the slowest members of a climbing team. If my leg bothered me another assistant could take my place and I could return to the trailhead. My leg was feeling better so I agreed to go. However, as I started up the trail the muscles in my leg were feeling strained. Every fiber in my body (especially around my knee) was telling me to turn around as the words of the doctor were ringing in my ears, so I bailed. It just was not worth risking further injury.
The trail to Mt. Defiance starts at Starvation Creek State Park. It was here in the Winter of 1884/1885 a train bound for Portland was stranded for three weeks due to high snow drifts. Every passenger survived and no one starved, but the lack of food earned the creek, waterfall, and park the name of starvation. As I soaked my leg in the ice cold creek I reminded myself that my situation is far less dire as those train passengers. That every setback is still an opportunity to learn and grow. I am pleased to report that all of the students of our team made it to the summit of Mt. Defiance. One of the students even credited me for getting better at packing her backpack.
Today a gal that I know from the Adventurous Young Mazamas organized a Middle Eastern Dinner party. We assembled in the afternoon and prepared Hummus, Falafel, a Middle Eastern Salad, and a middle eastern tortilla. Yours truly donned his Swedish apron and fried the Falafel. Thanks for the evening Melissa!