Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Continental Divide Trail 

Michael the Mountain Man flew to Seattle today. He is going to visit his folks in Bellevue before heading off to do the big one.

The Appalacian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine along the Eastern mountains. The Pacific Trail runs from Mexico to Canada along the Sierra Nevadas and the Cascades. Michael has hiked both of those. Now he wants to do the CDT. The Big Kahuna. Six months along the Rocky Mountains, and it is just about impossible to do the whole trail from Mexico to Canada without slogging through snow at some point. Very few people have hiked all three. It's called the "Triple Crown." Wish him luck.

Michael wants to spend some time training before he begins to hike the trail. Actually, he has been training at Fragrant Hills for several months. Michael says Fragrant Hills doesn't count, but I disagree. I've seen him climb. He was thinking about taking another bike trip around China this year, but he's getting a little too close to 50 to put this off any longer. The issue has been a bit of tendinitis in his foot. It flared up when he first came to China from Japan, and he is hoping it has healed up enough for him to withstand the stress of the march.

I haven't hiked with Michael long enough to learn all the trails at Fragrant Hills, but I guess you could say I sorta have the "lay of the land." And I am not training for anything nearly so ambitious as the CDT. For me, it is as much a spiritual quest as a physical one, although both are important. When I talk to people about my daily mountain climbing, they ask me how my health is coming. It's a question I don't quite know how to answer, because actually, my health has never been the problem. I feel great. Some would question why I need to do this, if my health is not broken down. But that's the whole point. I want to address this issue while I am still healthy, not wait until my body breaks down, and then try to fix it retroactively. I met a young lady in the village the other day who was told by her doctor a year ago that she had liver fat. She told me she has completely gotten rid of it using exercise and acupuncture. I can't imagine what help acupuncture could be, but it does seem that her move to the village has paid off for her. It's just one of those things. Preventive medicine has a cost. And most people (including me) tend to be hesitant to spend money on something that, by all appearances, is functioning normally. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The problem is that while liver fat is reversible, the things that liver fat can cause are not. So my belief is that once you get beyond a certain age, preventive medicine more than pays for itself. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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