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.