2014: A Reflection on Hiking and Health

2014 was not the first year in which the serious illness of someone close to me made real both the importance and the fragility of good health. The first time was in the spring of 2005 when my seemingly healthy husband needed a quadruple by-pass. The experience reinforced the cliché notion that every day counts. It also taught us that while fate plays a hand, there is much that is within our control – healthy diet, exercise and a positive outlook. As a result we are both healthier and stronger today than we were 10 years ago.

In 2014 I turned 50. My goal for the year was to focus our travels around longer, tougher hikes starting with the Tongariro Circuit and the Milford Track in New Zealand, followed by the GR20 on Corsica, considered by some to be the toughest hike in Europe and then finally the John Muir Trail, 220 miles through the high Sierras of California. Each was an unforgettable experience; to be able to do all three in one year, a true gift.

While I was thrilled with my accomplishments, I was blown away and inspired by the people that I met on the trail – some of them decades older than me but still passing me going up the mountain. I realized that turning 50 was not an endpoint but rather a beginning as I look forward to more trails in 2015.

Our year ended with a loved one’s battle with a rare lung infection. After a successful operation to remove the right lung my mother faces a long recovery to regain her strength. She has the will and support to do it and I expect to see her again in the mountains she loves this summer.

Wishing you all health and happiness in 2015.

Half Dome 2014

Half Dome 2014

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6 Responses to 2014: A Reflection on Hiking and Health

  1. hchamney says:

    Debbie you are one of the most inspiring, amazing, strong woman I know! You really have no idea how much you have inspired me, in so many ways! How many ways you have touched my life, my heart, my soul! I am so proud and honored to call you my friend and for you to have been a big part of my life! Thank you!! I’m also extremely thankful and happy your mom is doing so well, I know that was a big stress and worry!

    Wishing you and Don a Happy New Year and a 2015 better than even all the rest!! xoxo

    • hchamney says:

      That photo is EPIC btw 😀

    • baidanbi says:

      OMG Hali you almost had me in tears. That’s one of sweetest things anyone has ever said to me. What you have accomplished in the few years since I met you on that bus in China is truly remarkable – from not wanting to travel alone to being an accomplished world traveler, from not hiking much to conquering EBC. More importantly you are a great friend. I wish you and your family a happy and joyful new year.
      Happy Trails for 2015!!!

  2. My wife and I found hiking when we were 62. After three years and well over 300 miles hiked, we are both leaner and fitter than we have been in many years. We don’t do challenging hikes, more walking than climbing, but nonetheless, we are enjoying the scenery. We, too, are looking forward to more hiking next year. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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