Well, here is the account of my 2021 MS walk. As in 2020, the walk was “virtual” in that it was not held in a large group setting with volunteers cheering us on, handing out medals and t-shirts and providing snacks. It’s OK. It’s not about the goodies. It’s about the fundraising. For me it’s also about the steady progress I’ve made since learning that exercise doesn’t make MS worse.
This photo was taken at the end of the lengthy (for me) hike. Fortunately I used my sticks. I haven’t used trekking sticks on a walk for quite a while, but I haven’t attempted a 2.8 mile hike since before 2010 and probably since before 2003 when we left our East Falls home for Elkins Park. I’m looking a bit bedraggled here, which, as you will see, is for reasons beyond simply the length of the hike. Here is the route in a screen shot from a walking app I have on my phone, (which survived the trip):
The screenshot is a bleak description of what we actually saw, because the experience, itself, is much more colorful.
Reading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers made me more aware of how old trees give life to the new. It would be interesting to know which of these branches will become full trees in 20 or so years.
But speaking of interesting trees, this tree survived a beaver. At least it has so far.
However, before we got to these particular trees, the walk started out with a lovely vista of the lake that accompanied us the whole time:
It looks like a nice sunny day, doesn’t it?
We found plenty of interesting distractions:
Can you find the toad?
Jack in his pulpit:
These shots were taken during the first third of our hike. However I stopped taking photos for the next third and didn’t have a whole lot of energy to shoot anything in the second two thirds. We’d noticed rumblings in the background and that boats were not being rented when we paid for parking at this county park. The weather app had predicted the chance for light showers, something we shrugged off.
Susan noticed the first drop. It’s OK, we surmised. We can handle a light drizzle. Sadly that was not to be. After one drop came more. The light drizzle turned into a nice solid drenching rain. The cold was not terribly hard on me — I thrive in cooler temperatures because of my MS heat sensitivity. Susan suffered more, though, and both of us were exhausted by trudging through the woods, drenched, and on slippery slopes. Did I say I was glad I used my trekking sticks?
When I got this shot before the rain I thought of telling a physical therapist in 2017 that I wanted to be able to walk on uneven ground. I don’t think this is what she had in mind when she put out the modest obstacle course she had me walk across. I’m quite certain she would not have recommended I do it when the ground turned to mud and the pathway into a waterfall!
If you noticed that we didn’t make great time on this 2.8 mile trek, it will not surprise you given that not only did we cover it in wet conditions the second 2/3rds of the trip, but we also went up and down hills, most of them with exposed roots, like those above, and other obstacles. We were getting tree therapy by virtue of being close to and under trees, but we didn’t spend a lot of time looking up into the high branches.
Rain fell for about 15-20 minutes, about ten minutes was the hard, drenching rain that led to us in this condition:
I was the lucky one who wore the hat. Ironically, we discussed whether I’d wear a different hat, leaving one for Susan, at the beginning of the trip, but she decided we’d not get excessive sun under the trees. Silly to have worried about excessive sun.
Nevertheless, we successfully completed the trip. After the rain, I thought I’d get a few shots of dripping plants. But to get the real dripping plants I’d have had to get on my knees to get the shots and we were not into dawdling, not to mention that I was not into getting any wetter than I was, nor was I interested in kneeling in the mud! This shot turned out.
All in all, it was a memorable hike, one, I think, that was an adequate reflection of the generosity of the contributors to my MS fundraising efforts as well as a reflection of the improvements I’ve made in my mobility as a result of physical therapy, improved energy management and, not least, a replaced left hip in 2016.
Thanks to those of you who contributed to this years Walk for MS. If you still want to contribute, my fund raiser is going to be open for months and you can make a contribution here:
Or you can donate directly to the MS Society:
Thanks for visiting my blog!