Talk about actually giving a head start to your new year resolutions on the first day of the year itself. Vish and I took the going healthy bit too seriously, and along with a friend were on our way to hiking the Camelback Mountain in Phoenix as early as 7 AM on the 1st of January!
Camelback is a popular hiking and rock climbing destination in the valley and has two trails. We picked up the Echo Canyon trail that was labeled 'moderate'. Not that we are great or regular hikers, but you know that super ego within, 'if they say it's moderate, it must be easy'. Haa! God had his first lesson of the new year planned for us already. Though a 1.2 mile hike one way - the climb and descent both were extremely arduous. I cannot explain enough the havoc caused by the sand, the dirt, the gravel, the rocks, the boulders.
The climb starts with a few sandy steps giving way to a fairly steep rise that is made only a degree simpler with the rail and net provided. To say that I struggled, would be an understatement (I have learnt modesty :)). Mid-way I had lost all steam and was ready to give up - panting, out of breath, feeling nauseated and faintish, the peak seemed too far. Vish applied all tricks of the trade - enthusiastic cheering and then subtle manipulation - "aren't you from the hills - whatever happened to the great Chaube's", and that's it - I just couldn't call it quits. Not on the first day of the year.
And then we went on to the most challenging part of the ascent - a steep almost-vertical climb on a completely rocky terrain. I slipped a couple of times, bruised my ankles, took a minute's rest every two minutes, but we finally did make it to the top. And yes, the views were worth the trouble getting all the way up...
The descent was riskier and even more challenging - I tried the strategy of holding the rocks on both the sides with my hands and then swinging down - the trick did me good (and completely destroyed my forearms in the process) - I was down in record time - never mind the 60-year old and 10-year old local pros who were running down the slope - comparison is never healthy :D.
As we returned home after the hike, followed by a quick lunch at an Iranian place, we could already feel the soreness creep in.
Like a battered and bruised soldier but from a victorious war, I am still reeling from all the aches and the stretched joints - walking is difficult, lifting objects is impossible, the neck is stiff and so are 99% of the muscles but the sense of achievement is at its peak :). I am just hoping that this is not the only exercise I get in the whole year - to keep it optimistic, well begun is half done, folks!
Wishing you all a very happy new year - may fulfilling joy be yours every single day!