A few weeks ago, someone invited me to walk the Fort to Fort trail with her while her husband fished for salmon in the Fraser.
We were going to meet at Derby Reach at 6 pm, walk to Ft Langley, then walk back.
I arrived at 6:20 pm to find both of them waiting for me in the parking lot, each holding a leash attached to a dog.
My first horrified thought was they expected me to walk one of their canine family members while he fished. But it was not so. He decided to walk with us instead of fish.
So off we went.
And I mentioned to them, that as I had just driven through Ft Langley on my way to Derby Reach, I had thought to myself, "holy cow. This looks like a long walk. A really long walk."
They were very reassuring that it could easily be done in a little over an hour.
We walked at a clipped pace along the path, then the road, then along the river and arrived in Fort Langley at 8 pm. I would have been happy to sit at Wendell's - have a tea and brownie then phone my mom and ask her to drive us back to Derby Reach at 9 WHEN THE PARK GATES ARE LOCKED.
He would have no part of that.
We just needed to go back now.
And we needed to walk back faster.
In. The. Dark.
Along an unlit country road.
With no sidewalks.
For 2.5 miles.
He entered the park at 9:00 pm, got their van, came back to pick her up then drove home.
I walked through the gates, past 5 'park guards' waiting to lock up, to the only vehicle left in the pitch black lot at 9:06 pm. Sheepishly, I drove past the front gate, apologized for being late and drove home.
It took 3 days for my legs and feet to recover. My entire body ached from the stress and tension of having to almost-run in order to get back before the gates were locked. We had walked fast. And not talked. And there had been no tea. No brownie. No pics.
A few days later, there was that aforementioned surprise party for Drew. At Janice's place. In her backyard. Where I wanted to be sure to take pics.
I went into the back forest snapping away, when out of nowhere, a twig attacks my left flip-flopped foot and inserts itself, blunt end first into the (relatively) soft part of my foot just beneath the ankle bone and above the heel. I pulled the twig out, and let it bleed for awhile, then pulled off the dangly flesh, wiped away the blood with a kleenex and carried on taking pics of happy kids.
Later that night, while in bed, the top of my left foot became itchy, so I used the heel of my right foot, which, lucky for me, has sandpaper-like qualities, to scratch it. I scratched the whole top layer of skin completely off. By the morning it had started to scab over but it was also swollen.
It is now 8 days later, and the swelling has gone down, the scab is down to the size of a pea and the hole on the side? Still very tender.
Yesterday we (six) of us, were taken to a surprise location for a pre-planned evening in order to celebrate Terry's birthday. No details were given, even when asked, other than, "It's a surprise. We're going into Vancouver."
The party planner had us meet at her place at 5:30, and once we were all there, looked at our clothing choices and mentioned that as part of the evening's progressive nature, we'd be walking along the beach - did we want to borrow jackets?
Jackets? Did we want JACKETS?
What about shoes? For the first time in a week, I had put shoes on, ones with a heel, a back and a top. The last thing I was worried about was being cold. Also? I was worried about the timeline as I had to be back before 11, to pick up Drew and his friend from a party later...
So, off to dinner. In her van. That had been equipped with cheese and crackers as well as bottled water for each of us. We arrived at a funky greek restaurant in time for our 7 pm reservations and were treated royally by the owner. We were in the heart of downtown (Davie St and something Ave) in an area teeming with greek restaurants. We finished our spectacular meals and by 8:30 pm, armed with a printed google map, we were on our way for a walk along Sunset Beach in the dark.
At around 9, those who are not overweight or perimenopausal were shivering and voting AGAINST frozen yogurt 'n fruit and FOR anything warm and chocolatey. So we stopped at a wonderful, quirky little chocolate cafe that had live music and a chocolate loving owner. (I felt like I had walked onto the set of Chocolat.) My feet were throbbing and I needed to get in touch with Drew ... this evening was not going to be over in time for me to pick him up. I left a voice mail message, had my 17th glass of ice water, and enjoyed the most sinfully delicious chocolate dessert on the planet.
At 10 pm, I asked if we could start to head back, as I really needed to be back in Langley by 11.
Armed with the map, yet going against my intuition that we should have turned left out of the chocolate shop instead of right, we started walking. And walking. And walking.
At 10:30 I phoned Drew and apologized, but we were still downtown, not lost exactly - we did have that google map - but there was no way I was going to be home in time to pick him up.
"You have to be. You said you would."
"I know. I'm so sorry. But I'm not driving, I'm with friends, and we're still walking and is there anyone else that can give you guys a ride?"
"MOM. This is awkward. Just get here."
"I can't. I really, really can't. It's going to be hours before I get home..."
We kept walking.
We finally found (not that it, or we, were ever lost) the van at 11 pm. We were back at her place by midnight. And I was home a half hour after that.
And today, hours later? My feet? Are throbbing.
I am hobbling.
And they ache.
And all of this has me thinking about aging. And how my last few experiences with walking have not been as much fun as they should be. Earlier in the summer, again, celebrating a friend's birthday, we walked along a beach after eating. Again, it was a few miles. Again, by the time we got back to our transportation I was in pain from skin being rubbed raw and it took days to recover.
Maybe it's the time pressure. Always having to get somewhere. Fast. Or meet some deadline. Now. Or reach some self-determined goal. So we can say we did.
But I am concerned.
I think I am faulty. Those exercise endorfins that are supposed to be released when a person does a workout are not being released.
The one form of exercise that I used to be fond of has turned into something that I dread.
Can a person buy endorphins - mine are all used up. And I still have half a life to live.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Friends who have birthdays and let us celebrate their lives.
2. Friends who plan things.
3. Max. For picking up Drew on Friday night.