Mission Peak

Nothing like a little pain to help you recognize and appreciate a great accomplishment. It’s early Sunday morning. Taylor snores loudly, beat from yesterday’s activities. We picked up Dustin in the city and joined Theresa, 68 miles away down to the East Bay near Fremont to go on a hike to Mission Peak.

A 5.6 mile loop, which in and of itself would be easy for Taylor and I, the quick elevation of 2,117 feet to the top proved to be quite challenging. The walk up forced me to stop several times. Kindly, my friends patiently kept the pace slow, and without judging stopped with me. While I was panting hard and clearly tired, it wasn’t long before I mastered the pace (reminding myself of the first few minutes of my hike at Arches National Park in Utah with JoeyO’ and DaveRisner getting stronger with each step). However, I was never able to master the pain associated with the incline and subsequent decline. My feet were burning. Where my thighs met my torso around my hips were throbbing. Unfortunately, that didn’t change throughout the entire hike.

Taylor was wondering what I had signed us up for. We both felt every bone in our body. We felt like the old men we were. I’d come to the realization and acceptance these last few years that in any group, I would be the least athletic, the least coordinated, and the least in-shape (even when I was in good shape) person that I know. But I’m ok with that; and I never use it as an excuse to not push myself into activities that I know the result will be exciting and exhilarating.

And so that’s what I really remember about yesterday. There was so much to love and appreciate. There were a lot of people, but not too many. We saw a lot dogs, many happily yapping at Taylor, who focused instead of putting one paw in front of the other. A squirrel scurried home into a hole underground. Cows congregated everywhere, dotting the entire journey, stoic and majestic, annoyingly swatting the flies with their tails. At times I thought we were going to walk off the edges of the earth, before we found out the world was round. Hawks circled the blue skies. And we saw handglinders join the hawks jumping off the edges of the earth.

Of course, what I loved and appreciated the most was the company of two friends. And more than anything, to spend time with my dog, every moment with him, a moment filled with love.

The trek up the hill was, while challenging, beautiful. And the sense of accomplishment from reaching the peak was exhilarating. And the view? The view of the East and South Bays from Mission Peak was simply stunning.

It was all worth it. And while I started this piece acknowledging the pain, I end it with appreciating the journey and loving the destination.

Memorial Day weekend is always bittersweet, especially when you think about what it really means. For many, it’s about a long weekend, drinking beer, eating barbecue, and having fun. Of course, it’s really a celebration of acknowledgement of the heroic deeds of the men and women who choose to serve our country, to protect the lives and rights that many of hold dear but also take for granted.

So that’s what I thought about as we got to the peak.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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