Day 14: Hiking as a Metaphor for Living

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Jun 29, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Trentino-Alto Adige,
Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's 5:45PM and I’m lying on the bed with my legs and particularly my feet vibrating from the seven hours of hiking today!   When we started out, we really didn’t know what to expect – we had simply asked Dunia at the Hotel Uherhof to suggest a trail that would keep us in the sun so that we could enjoy what promised to be a beautiful warm sunny day.    Harvey was happy that we would start hiking right from our hotel in Bulla and he wouldn’t have to drive today.

We had a detailed hiking and road map that Dunia had given us and it is marked with her suggested route.  She queried us before making her suggestion – How many hours do we want to be hiking?  Do we like steep?  To get us started out of Bulla, she pointed us in the right direction and said go up, go up.  With our plan in mind and marked on the map, we set off!

What a beautiful narrow path up through the trees from Bulla.  Every now and then, we could peak through them and see these distant views of mountains and valleys.  As we continued we saw only one other couple and they were coming down.  We just kept going up, up, up and how much further up?  More up.  When we thought we had reached the top, it was just a tease, the land was like sculpture and when we got to a point the higher trail revealed itself.  We thanked the people who do trail maintenance because even though this trail seems to get light use it is well marked with red and white colors and the trail#24.  We even found occasional benches!  The Val Gardena area does a great job of making the area hiker friendly!

It’s quite steep and we stopped for me to catch my breath – and at some point Harvey thought he was developing a blister so he checked his sock and foot.  We were looking after one another.  Somewhere along the line, it was a little scary because of the sheer drop off the side of the path and I was getting a little tired and sometimes dizzy.  We came to a section that had rock face with a metal rope for support going up.  Harvey took the camera so I could easily use two hands.  As I started up this section with both hands on the metal rope, I pulled in my stomach muscles, took a deep breath and decided that I can enjoy this – that I know I have the strength, balance and stamina – and to stop thinking that I can’t.  I flashed for a moment to my pilates teacher, Anna,  who has told me when I am doing an advanced exercise to set a clear intention with self assurance and proceed.  And that’s how I went up that rope section, light on my feet and I said to Harvey that this was actually fun!  My mental attitude had changed and it made all the difference in the world

As we are walking through the trees, we’re talking and Harvey says that he thinks most things should be done in moderation, except that he loves to learn.  He says it with such enthusiasm and clarity – that he has a burning need to learn.  That’s the thing about being in nature for us – it puts things in perspective.    That step-by-step rhythm soothes and opens us up.

When we got to the top of this section of the trail, we were surprised to see so many people!  A couple was watching us ascend and asked where we had come from.  We chatted for awhile and learned all the places in the world they have lived, where they liked the best (Madagascar), and where they live now (France).    It’s fun to meet people along the way!

This next segment of our hike is a circular route high up in the Seiser Alm – spectacular 360 degree views as we walk around a loop.  It’s just so open and beautiful – I just want to breathe and my heart and energy are fully open and soaking it all in.  I am almost singing hello and bon giorno to others as we smile and see other hikers.  Mostly, people respond with smiles and hello or a German expression.  All is good in the world.  We stop for a picnic along the way.  And further down, we find a mountain hut where we sit at a picnic table and order two beers.  Up walk the couple who greeted us as we completed the steep segment and got on the plateau.  We invited them to join us and we had enjoyable conversation about this and that.  Before departing, we exchange kisses on each cheek and hugs.  Just fun. 

The last segment of the days’ hike had a shortcut and Dunia marked it for us, saying that it wasn’t well marked.  Harvey went into navigation gear and we occasionally found people who confirmed or suggested how to get where we wanted to go.  It was one of those experiences where we took a calculated risk -  we continued walking, knowing that we could go back and take the well marked trail even though it was significantly longer – and then we started to repeat our mantra that has worked well for us in life – "all will be revealed".  And so it was that we found a ski lift gondola station that we thought was on track and we spoke to the one attendant who in fact confirmed we were on track!  We followed this small trail and then a narrow road for about 1.5 hours and sure enough our little hamlet came into view!

What a spectacular way to spend our 42nd wedding anniversary!  It was a little like our life together and we worked it out together.  A wonderful dinner at the Hotel Uherhof topped off the day – with a special anniversary greeting on our table.  We ended our meal with some oopsla and toasted to more years ahead together.

With gratitude and love we end the day!

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susan mcgee on

Happy Anniversary to you two happy vagabonds!

Just read your Thursday entry, Margie and am vacariously enjoying that clear mountain air, the views, two beers -- and your joy in walking, talking, being together in nature. Excellent navigating, too, feeling your way along, always checking that you're on the right track -- we can relate to it all! Harvey is so good at leading, thinking things through, staying calm. You're a great team -- and I bet same as you were on that first honeymoon trip to Israel. I hope to read more this's raining here, has rained for 2 weeks, but John just made us a lovely vegetable & egg white omelette...Love, Susie

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