And that is my hiking story. I met Danny at the airport and we toured Glasgow yesterday and on to Edinburgh today and then off to other parts of Scotland. I will probably create a separate blog on the same site for pictures of each of the places we visit with maybe a few comments but will spare any readers my long commentaries. It has been a challenge but so rewarding. I started planning 8 months ago and visualized what it would mean to be at the various destinations along the trail but until I was actually there it didn’t mean anything. It is funny how a place is much more meaningful even if you are only there for a few hours. Mingavie, Drymen, Rowardennan, Inveraran, Tydrum, Kinlochlevan, Fort William, Ben Nevis, North Queensferry, Burntisland, Kirkcaldy are so personal now. I still have a week’s worth of pictures to upload and will when I can get the perfect wifi.
There are some things I want to remember also for future reference:
Challenge myself daily to do something that is difficult to keep me out of my comfort zone.
Have a benchmark of breathing, movement, cognition to test against future activity. For example, know how I handle climbing a certain hill in terms of breathing and determine over time if it is getting more difficult or easier. Of course, the aging process dictates how quickly physical and mental processes diminish, but it is important to monitor it. I remember in the book Tuesdays with Morrie, Morrie says that he wished that he had danced more in his later years because it would have given him a better indication of when his health started failing.
Almost everything I brought was used and there wasn’t anything I forgot that I really needed. That’s amazing in itself. I was able to find a place to wash clothes twice on the trip which was just right. I brought plenty of the clear gallon size bags to separate out the clothes and keep them dry.
Paying the $10 a day for phone access has been worth it because I had no good access to wifi in many areas but I was able to make calls home almost everywhere. I am sure there were cheaper alternatives but I didn’t find any.
Hendricks gin and tonic with cucumbers is really good.
I tried a pizza with an egg in the middle and black pudding on each slice. The black pudding is actually very good. I didn’t eat it all but not because I didn’t like it. I was full.
Say Hi Ya as a greeting.
People have the same needs and emotions everywhere; they just show it in different ways. Human is human.
When you have all day to get to a destination, life unfolds in slow motion. There is no need to hurry or panic. If a plan doesn’t work, there is time to find a new plan. Motions are slower; emotions are lower. It’s not the real world but it is a blessing to do it once in a while.
The unknown doesn’t bother me. Having a general plan was important but knowing where I was going to sleep that night or where I was going to eat or what if this or what if that didn’t consume me. I found a way without being reckless or putting myself at risk.
The wildest animals I saw were other people’s dogs. There were very few dogs on the West Highland Trail, but the Fife trail was loaded with them and most never heard of cleaning up after their dogs. One woman was walking 8 dogs. I love dogs but when you are trying to have a Zen moment they can be distracting.
My family probably thinks I am crazy to do this but in a good way. Alana and the kids have been very supportive, but naturally concerned about my state of mind for doing this. Frankly, I was too at first. I think of the first day with Tom in Edinburgh and I fall flat on my face on the cobblestone road. Could have broken my nose (which is still a little sore), my front teeth (my lip has heeled), my knee cap or my head. Nothing was broken and I continued on. It could have been very different but it wasn’t. It doesn’t mean I should stay in my chair at home; it means I need to be more careful and if something bad does happen, at least I tried.
Never stop moving.