I’ve been a little lazy lately. Kind of living the life of a shut in or hermit.
Lots of factors.
However, the two that led to this initially and then hooked me, eventually were:
A) The first of the season sunburn that I exposed myself to during my spur of the moment half century ride has kept me inside versus making it worse. I could simply buy some sun screen, but for now I’m living a literal version of “once burned, twice shy”…at least until I stop peeling!
B) I hurt myself. Yes, again. Yes, while I’ve allegedly been inactive.
But there’s a story behind that Point B.
The Silver Fox was laid up a few days back and I offered to take his pooch out for his pre-bedtime walk. His dog is a good boy. Certainly a better pet than my Mistress Myrtle, who is currently in the midst of an Otter Identity Crisis.
George is 110 pounds of heart. Definitely more heart than brain, but as soon as I open the door he’s doing his “happy to see you” dance. It’s the same dance I get when I’m visiting and use the bathroom in The Fox’s Lair. Anyway, having been a slug for the past several days and wanting to make sure The Fox gets every opportunity to rest up by sleeping through the night, I decide to give the dog a good pre-bedtime run. We zip around the North Park Blocks in the darkness in between sniff and pee breaks so that he can get all the pup-dates the neighborhood dogs leave…the NPB really are like Canine Facebook.
Still, we ran up and down four of the five blocks of park in between Chez Galby and The Fox’s Lair, occasionally doubling back on ourselves as we ran and played. It was only 3/4 of a mile, but I knew it was more than George usually gets at that late hour and I could tell he was ready to settle in for the night when we were done.
I went to bed thinking, “You know, you could shuffle out a mile jog around the park blocks a couple times a week” and motivated to give that a try to see how my knees and lower legs tolerated it.
Of course, I woke up on Monday scarcely able to put my ever increasing body weight on my left foot.
So I’ve been relegated to the sofa most of this week…naturally, it’s also a week where my normal Monday morning acupuncture was cancelled because of the holiday.
First World Problem.
You’d have thought being laid up would give me plenty of writing time.
You’d have been mistaken.
I’ve been trapped in a daily Netflix Spiral.
But, ending the week on a high note, I am determined to tell the story of that time my phone fat-shamed me. It was also my last outdoor activity, a hike with Little Buddy in Forest Park. There might even be some pics, it was so long ago that I’ve forgotten if I snapped pics during that hike or not.
One of the reasons that I enjoy hiking is the natural setting, of course. That’s the same reason I enjoy cycling. The difference is that while hiking, I can enjoy the scenery a bit more than when it’s buzzing by at a whopping 15 MPH. Hence the potential for pictures.
My usual Forest Park hike is a ten mile affair, about 50/50 split betwixt sidewalk on the to and from and actual trail in the park itself. It’s usually a 3-4 hour endeavor, depending on how long I stay at Pittock Mansion once I reach this little urban summit. Little Buddy had told me she had a few hours between work and family dinner duties, so I stopped her from paying to park by my place when she rolls up, figuring we can park adjacent to one of the many entry points and start there.
I’m not just respecting her pending familial obligations, I’m also ensuring our post ambulation recreation at The Big Legrowlski: beer!
Here’s the rub, though: I’ve never driven to the trail, so I have zero clue where to direct Little Buddy. Being the slave to technology that I am, I google Forest Park and get directions.
This takes us in the complete opposite direction than I normally head off in when on foot, so I’m completely lost. I usually head NW through the Alphabet District – encompassing the Pearl District, Slabtown and The Conway neighborhoods – and then into Northwest and ultimately the forest on Thurman Street.
These google directions set us off toward Burnside, the primary East-West thoroughfare through town and really the first street in the Alphabet District, and the opposite end of the alphabet from my normal entry point. Mind you, Google Maps is – allegedly – going to provide the quickest route, so off we go.
Here’s the payoff for struggling through those Portland neighborhood specific details…patience really can pay off.
We’re heading up Burnside, chattering comfortably away about her and 2.0’s new home escrow, an upcoming kitchen remodel in their current home and my parents’ kitchen remodel – it appears I literally have nothing to add to this conversation myself, so I’m ripping off my parents. But, being an okay son, when she mentions having a potential Quartz Guy, I tell her that my parents had wanted quartz but opted for marble because they couldn’t find a decent deal on quartz.
Sidebar: She literally just texted me this as I’m writing
This is my life, I cannot make it up any better.
So, we’re driving up Burnside and our conversation is interrupted by directions, as is often the case when GPS is your friend. Or in this case, frenemy.
“In 600 feet, continue on past Taco Bell”…
As far as landmarks go, if you’re going to base them on businesses, Portland has a few iconic offerings along Burnside. For example,
Jim Fisher Volvo has been on Burnside since 1957 and its sign 60 feet over Burnside is nearly as famous as this guy sitting at the head of NW Burnside.
But, no, my phone had inherited my snarky and completely unveiled bitchy personality. Allow me to translate its directions for you.
“Hey, fatty, since you don’t drive and based on your drunken Uber history, the park you’re looking for is past Taco Bell…do not stop at Taco Bell!”
Little Buddy and I were so stunned by this out of character type of direction that it took us a moment to begin laughing our asses off. LB nearly drove into a truck. We were laughing so hard that we nearly missed the second warning at 400 feet. We’d regained our composure enough to enjoy the fact that google kept on shaming me until the “200 feet” marker.
As funny as that was – shituationally – I felt a little cheated that there was no congratulatory message once I’d successfully made it past my drunken dietary siren.
Somehow – after that amazing ab workout slash dose of the best medicine – we made it to our urban trailhead destination. I recognized it, as I’d crossed this road a few times on other adventures. After parking, we head out into the trail as I try to mentally adjust my map so I don’t get us lost.
We both quickly realize that we aren’t entering at the easiest point on the path…as we pretty much are silenced 300 feet into a maybe 12 degree (I’m guessing, not really sure how grades are measured…just assume it’s steep) climb when LB says something along the lines of, “Geez, how long is this hill?!?”
Basically, what I was desperately trying to remember. Wiping the streams of sweat from my face before turning to answer, I tell her that “I can’t actually remember” and that it’s “longer than I recall, I’m trying to remember which way to go at the top so I don’t get lost again”.
Now, this Little Buddy of mine, she’s pretty sharp.
“Again?!?”, she asks.
This totally takes the pressure off the early phone fat shaming since I answer her honestly by telling her that I’ve only gotten lost in Forest Park twice.
This just happens to be one of the two paths I’ve been lost on.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’d guess that the initial climb was about 1000 feet and my treacherous phone told me we climbed 13 stories. One of my math-y friends can figure the grade out and tell the rest of us in the comments.
After that initial near death humility inducing beginning, the path leveled off into a more comfortable elevation gain and we were back to our normally chatty and much less wheezy selves. It was last Wednesday and we both enjoyed the relatively people-free trail as we absorbed the natural settings and caught up.
It’s one of those normally awesome experiences that is even better for the company. I’m glad she and I have had a couple of opportunities to enjoy each other’s company, being outdoors, some beer, a lil wine, great weather and surprisingly few other people. As a matter of fact, once we reached the mansion, I mentioned that this was the smallest crowd I’d seen up there in the three years I’ve been hiking these trails.
Less than a dozen counting us. Excluding us, maybe not even a half dozen.
Naturally, two of the only other visitors were feeling chatty. And commemorative, asking me to get a pic of them in front of the overlook. LB took off for a shady spot in the corner while the tourists from Salt Lake chatted me up. I mentally praised her reclusiveness, even though I knew that I was projecting my early onset grumpiness onto her mom check in moment.
I can’t blame the tourist for wanting to capture the beautiful view, even if the mountain wasn’t out that day.
I swear, there is a mountain in that haze…somewhere. Maybe next time. I have that luxury, even though it’ll probably be so crowded up there when the mountain is actually out that I won’t be able to get a decent shot of it.
Oh well, first <ahem> step is to get my foot cooperating again!