Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The routine

I'm settling into my routine, such as it is, at the new job. I have split days off and work strange hours, so it's hard to find time to fit in other activities. Fortunately, my coworkers are all great and we hang out together a lot, so my social life revolves around other people who understand the weird schedule.

A week ago, my best friend Kim and I went to Crater Lake. She'd never been there, so the original plan involved hiking down to the shore to take the boat tour. Because I didn't pay enough attention to know which side of the lake to go to to purchase tickets, we missed out on the tour, but thought we would hike down anyway. I'd never seen it from the shore. "The hike can't be THAT bad," I thought. "I'll take it easy on the way up and my legs will hurt tomorrow, but it'll be OK."

The downhill part of the hike went well. It's a gorgeous hike and the weather was cooperative. The lake definitely looks different from that perspective and it's interesting that the deep blue color is just as intense from the shore.

The hike back up did not go as well. I'm out of shape and knew I'd have to stop a lot walking back up the hill (a mile-long STEEP trail that is a 1,000-foot change in elevation, or, according to the sign at the top of the hill, the equivalent of 150 flights of stairs), but I had a strong reaction to the altitude. The shore is at 6,100 feet or so and the top of the trail is about 7,100. Almost immediately after starting the hike my pulse was far faster than it's ever been and I thought I was going to pass out. I even got a bloody nose, which has never happened at all. I found myself hoping that if I did collapse, the next person to walk by would be capable of running up or down to get me medical help. They aren't kidding when they say it's strenuous. Of course I realize this means that I need to do much more cardio work at the gym, but I was amazed at how difficult it was. It's really quite unfortunate because the view from the shore is amazing, but I don't know if I'd ever want to do it again without training specifically for that activity for a long time.

I did get some great photos.