Refuse to be Passive

One Step At A Time

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

You know that saying, “One step at a time”? Well, there’s a reason that saying exists. Granted, when you’re at the beginning of a journey and someone spouts off that sentiment to you, there’s usually conflicting emotions encouraging you to throttle that person, while at the same time giving grudging agreement. Social correctness results in you simply agreeing with them, while keeping your fist tightly clenched at your side.

Last week I went on my first scramble. My roommate took me to the Columbia icefields to hike up to the ridge at Mt. Wilcox. The guidebook suggested that this was an easy scramble, and so my friend thought it would be a great experience for my first time out. Let me tell you, one step at a time became my motto for that day. The initial trail through the bush was not to be found, so we did a bit of bushwacking, while doing our best not to disturb nature too much. This turned out to be an oxymoron. Too add to this, the trees and brush were covered with dew, and in a short time we were both drenched below the waist. With all the deadfall, it was definitely a matter of one step at a time, carefully putting down your foot to ensure you didn’t wind up twisting your ankle.

As we came clear of the brush and trees, I was confronted with a steep slope of stones, pebbles, and rocks. My initial thought was, “Right. This is so not happening.” However, my roommate ploughed ahead like this was normal for a scramble, which I later found out is indeed the case. But once again, you watch your footing or the stones fly out from under your feet and you go slipping down the side of a mountain. Now, my balance isn’t that good at the best of time, and after my first misplaced step, my roommate started moving a little slower and making intentional foot divots for me to step in. She initially doubted my lack of balance until she turned around at one point and saw me plopped down on my butt. She looked at me questioningly. “I lost my balance. It was sit down or fall down.” I think at this point she was realizing this scramble might have been a mistake for me. But she was very encouraging, and despite my aching muscles, I made it to the top of the ridge.

At the top of the ridge was a wide swath of rocky meadow that made me think a bit of certain parts of the British isles in the north. But the view couldn’t be matched by anything Britain had to offer– the Rocky Mountains in all their glory, capped with glaciers of ice. We saw five or six Marmotts and also a number of Piccas. After exploring and then taking a rest for lunch, we headed back down again. By this point my legs were already tired, and now we had to go down, which if you’ve ever hiked, you know can easily be more difficult than going up, particularly if you need to watch your steps. Your quads get an incredible workout. There was one point at which I needed to stop for a break because I was sure my legs were going to give out. Those carefully placed steps down a slippery slope of rock took a lot out of me, and I’m sure I looked miserable. At some points I was down to praying that I wouldn’t wind up plunging down the mountain in a small avalanche of rock, that I would come out of this scramble unharmed. It wasn’t long after those prayers started that I took a misstep and went down. I only slid about four or five feet, but it was enough to give me some nice gashes in my wrists. The fall was a combination of bad footing and tired legs. My roommate backtracked, pulled out her firstaid kit, and bandaged me up. She joked that after this I would never go on a scramble with her again. At that point in time, I was feeling like she’d never want to go with me again. What a clutz!

After a brief break we were heading downward again, past the rock, into the trees for a bit more bush wacking. As we came up to the parking lot I was so delighted to see the car that I decided to take the last small slope– no more than ten feet– at a bit of a run. Mistake. My legs were so tired that on my last step I simply fell down. My roommate was horrified and came over to see if I was okay. She found me with tears in my eyes. I was laughing so hard. The situation was absolutely hilarious. I was okay, but I had wiped out on the last step of the hike. It was the easiest step of my entire day, and it brought me down. “Slow and steady” and “One step at a time” may be cliche, but they are true cliches.

These cliches don’t only extend to hiking. They extend to other aspects of life as well. For a little more than a month now, I’ve been working to lose weight. Each day I get up and think through what I’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and supper, and then try to give myself some wiggle room to work with at the bakery. Each day is a series of small steps that will lead me down the path of success. Some days are like a meadow, and my food and fitness choices come easily to me. Other days are like a rocky slope, where I’m picking my way through the day just trying to survive. And other days are like those last steps of the hike, where things are going well, the end is in sight, and I just biff it. But despite all these types of day, each choice of what to eat or how to exercise is like a step on that hike. It may be a slow and arduous process at points, but the view from the top is well worth it. I’m happy to say after my weigh in yesterday that I am ten pounds down, and intend to keep going, one step at a time.  

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