This Bod Ain’t What It Used To Be

This past Sunday my husband, Steve, and I went for a Valentine’s Day hike at Torreya State Park.  Nowadays we give little thought to a day’s hike, compared to our meticulously planned backpacking ventures on the Appalachian Trail several years ago.  Every meal would be planned and packed, every day’s hike mapped out toward a specific campsite, and each item weighed after passing the test, “Do I really need this?  Will I survive without it?”

But such wasn’t the case on Sunday.

“Should we go for a hike?” asked Steve.

“Sure, let’s go.”

After ten minutes of gathering water bottles, protein bars and a couple small packs, we started the sixty-mile drive to Torreya.  It was a beautiful, cool sunny day, perfect for hiking.

When we arrived, Steve started digging through things in the back seat.

“I could swear my hiking boots were in this pack,” he said.

“So what are you going to do?”

“I guess I’ll have to hike in my crocs.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’ll be OK.”

As soon as we started the descent on the trail, I remembered what I forgot.

“Oh no!  I don’t have my hiking poles!”

“Should we forget it?”

“No, I’ll be OK.  I just need to find a stick.”

So Steve endured sloshing through the muddy areas in his airy crocs, while I pounded along with a flimsy stick, a far cry from my ergonomically designed antishock Leki poles. 

We fussed over the length of the hike. 

“Good thing it’s only five miles,” said Steve.

“It’s seven.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

I guess it’s nice to have someone to argue with, especially on Valentine’s Day.  Just for the record, the park’s web site says it’s a 7.2-mile hike.  (I love it when I’m right.)  We did take a cut-off path toward the end, though, to avoid the flooded section a ranger warned us about.  I’d say we probably hiked six miles, but Steve insists it was only five.

Monday morning, my calves said it was six.  I was pretty sore from all the climbs and descents, something we don’t get too much of in Florida.  I like to get some exercise each day, but I didn’t feel up for a walk/run. 

So I put on some work gloves and attacked a project that had been staring at me for weeks.  I want to plant a garden this Spring, and we only have one patch of ground that gets a decent amount of sunlight.  There were two bent-over, sun-hogging small trees that had to go.  I spoke with Steve a few times about using the chainsaw to take them down.

“I wish you wouldn’t.  Wait till I get to it,” he said.

Yeah, right.  I knew I’d have to tackle it if it was going to get done.  But I felt guilty about using the chainsaw against his wishes.  Heck, what if I sliced my leg or something stupid like that?  There are few things worse than painful “I told you so’s.”

I grabbed the ax and went at it with gusto.  Down came the trees, with my heart racing.

Good cardio.

I pruned off the branches and made several trips hauling them and the long trunks to the backyard by the campfire/burn pile.  Then I noticed the area Steve cleared of all the thick vines by the lake’s edge.  Now there was nothing between us and the gators.  What if they decided to climb up into the back yard…on an evening when I decided to walk out into the pitch-black darkness to stargaze on the dock?  Not a pretty mind picture, getting a gator mad by stepping on its snout.

I grabbed every long, thick branch and trunk I could find, and built a little gator barrier. 

OK, so maybe it won’t stop them.  But at least it will discourage them a little.

While placing down the last tree trunk, I tripped on a vine, banged my left shin against the gator barrier, and pulled the muscles in my torso and right calf—my sore right calf. 


My pulled calf muscle demanded the most attention, so I leaned against the branches to stretch it out, trying to ignore the spiking pains in my shin and torso.  I moaned and groaned, till the calf muscle relaxed. 

Where’s a video camera at times like this?

I hobbled into the house, grabbed the boo-boo bag (yes, the boo-boo bag), filled it with ice, propped up my leg, and pressed the bag on the purple-blue mound on my shin.


This morning my calves said it was a 15-mile hike Sunday.  Sure, it wasn’t, but that’s still what they told me.  On top of that, I guess the hacking of the ax was too much for my wrist.  The slightest movement caused unsettling pangs of pain.  I hobbled around on my sore calves, hunting for the wrist brace. 

Days like these are poignant reminders of our fleeting mortality.

Lord, I’ll be happy to trade this body in for a new one, on that glorious day when I see your face.  Please make it about thirty years old, and a slim 120 pounds!


2 Responses to “This Bod Ain’t What It Used To Be”

  1. Robyn Says:

    I remember borrowing your Crocs to walk on the beach….they say they are comfy….but don’t be fooled. (sheepishly) I guess they were a tad to small and that might have been my discomfort and not the actual shoes. Hey, you’ve got my story….and I’m sticking to it.

    Yes, bring me the 25 yr. old body and I’ll settle for 125 pounds!

  2. Crystal Says:


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