IS SIXTY TOO OLD TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN?

When I was sixty, seven of us decided to climb Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks. I’d done it before and wasn’t too enthusiastic—climbing mountains does not bring me joy— but here was a challenge. Could I still do it? What better to do on that particular day?

Our group assembled at the trailhead: four adults, and three young boys. It was fun watching the kids scoot up the mountain together, soon lost from sight. I tried to remember what it was like to have a body made of air, a mere nothing to carry up the mountain at full speed.

Toward the top, 4,000 feet above sea level, where it becomes a steep climb up sheer rock, I began to feel faint and nauseous. “I’m too old for this,” I muttered to myself. “I’m probably having a heart attack.” Then I came upon my son’s strong, young fiancée sitting on a rock, her head in her hands. “I’m never going to do this again,” she moaned.

“I agree,” I was panting. “For what? What’s the point of all this suffering?” I took off my baseball hat and whooshed away the flies and mosquitoes. My hatband was soaked.

After a rest the two of us finished the climb and sprawled on the flat rocks like squashed bugs.

When we had recovered a bit, we sat up and watched my son and a cousin lounging, drinking water, enjoying the view of the lake below. The young boys were racing up the observation tower. My future daughter-in-law was puzzled. “It must be a mental thing. Or maybe a macho thing. Look at them. They look like they’re having fun.”

Yes, the view was fine, the weather fabulous, but I hadn’t changed my mind. “Maybe. It doesn’t mean that much to me. I’m never doing it again.”

I’ve proven I can climb Blue Mountain. Next time I’ll make some really nice sandwiches for them when they come back down.

 

Daring to Date Again

Purchase my award winning memoir
Daring to Date Again

Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon