Having persuaded my new bionic hip to progress from walking a few painful, awkward steps to 45 minute walks around Sunshine Valley, it was time to get serious.
The delayed arrival of snow really helped, and friends strolled with me from time to time.
With Bonnie posting destinations by email, I could picture where the regular Friday morning hikes went each week. My big chance to participate again came at last, after three months of abstinence.
The upcoming hike was to the confluence near the yellow highway bridge; without bothering the “Real Trekkers,” I could turn back at any time. They would leave the Strawberry Moose at 9 a.m. but, not being sure until the last minute that I would actually try this, I did not go there—nor did I let anyone know my plans.
Or maybe I just wanted to see the reactions when they drove into the parking lot where we would start, and I was standing and waiting, raring to go!
Away we went to view the confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater rivers. No one had, or needed snowshoes. Three distinct zones along the North Thompson River’s edge drew our attention: fast-flowing water furthest out; next to it the current just meandered along; closest to the bank a sturdy ice shelf had formed.
In the middle section, the freezing water swirled chips of ice together, brushing their sides against each other, forming perfect circlets and “donuts” of snow and ice.
Dragging ourselves from this mesmerizing sight, we strolled along the old road. Where the sandbanks are straight and steep, I turned back. “See you at coffee!” The rest of the group walked onwards, adding another hour of outdoor enjoyment. But I was glad I had so easily managed Practice number one.
At last the snow came.
“No snowshoeing for me yet,” I moaned.
“We can have two groups,” Bonnie assured me.
So, while the snowshoers remembered how to attach their big feet before stomping a big loop at the airstrip, Eva and I walked along roads circling out from Brookfield Centre.
“You were right, Eva,” I told her next time I saw her. “I was a bit sore, but Tylenol and a good night’s sleep put my hip to rights.”
Practice number two had taken an hour and a half.
Practice number three was different again. June and Margaret, walking single file in their snowshoes, went ahead along the lanes, packing a trail for me. Thus, with the snow conditions just right, I barely sank.
“Look how pretty the trees are with snow on their twigs and branches,” we said. To our even greater delight, afternoon sun peeked out briefly from the clouds, turning sparkling snow golden.
So here I am, just waiting to hear the physiotherapist say magic words: “Yes, you can snowshoe now, Kay!”
Meantime, we are doggie-sitting Jake, the curly-haired big black poodle. This four-legged pal believes I have nothing better to do than take him out at least twice a day. Together, as we tromp through snowy trails, he too looks forward to my having snowshoes – so he can hitch a ride!
How I will get up again after he tries that is anyone’s guess…