I’m back home after another trek challenge exercise. It’s 2:45 in the afternoon with a triple-digit temperature of 101. Sweat pours down my face, the back of my shirt is soaked, my arms ooze sweat and my sox are squishy.
Hitting the fridge, I grab a cold plastic bottle of water, and with great restraint, I don’t gulp. I sip ─ lots of sips. I’ve experienced the terrible, painful sensation smack between your eyes when you eat ice cream too fast. My fridge water is ice cold. So, I sip, sip, sip.
It’s a good thing I am alone in the house, except for Bernie and Chris. Why? Because when I sweat, I also stink. The shower calls me. Warm water, it won’t be cold. The water pipes are less than a foot under the surface. Arizona’s sun bakes the ground, and all water is warm until sometime in September.
I’m excited because I can almost duplicate many of what I will experience hiking the Granite Mountain Hotshot Memorial. Most hiking obstacles are within my neighborhood. The adjacent vacant fields and desert will be my nearly level surface training ground. For stamina and endurance, the paved streets will do.
The two toughest obstacles are lifting my legs to climb and descend. Walking on smoothly paved streets and fairly level but rough vacant lots and desert landscape won’t provide the required leg stretch and stress ─ but stairs will.
While trekking this afternoon, I found my stairs.
Approaching the stairs, I realized how difficult it is to master. It isn’t normal to use support poles or crutches to navigate this obstacle.
I am going to be spending a lot of time on these stairs. It is a double challenge. Ascending is difficult. Losing my balance, I fall on the next stair. Painful.
Descending is much worse. It’s scary. Unlike an ascending stair to catch me, gravity shoves as far as it can.
I navigated both up and down a ten-step stairway. It took several minutes of mental and physical effort.
At least once every day, I will climb and descend these stairs to conquer my anxiety.