It’s been a long time since I was here visiting this space, and the last time I left you, I had started hiking each weekend with my youngest son, introducing him to all my favourite trails.
Since then, we have continued to hike together each weekend and one of my routines at the beginning of each trek is to invoke the simple but critical No-Dying Rule.
That’s it. Don’t die.
However, it’s also generally understood to include no maiming of any kind.
Risks and dangers lurk on the trail and cell service can be spotty. In the event of an accident, help could be a long time in coming. It’s easier to just use caution – especially since one could argue that common sense had already been abandoned.
I learned about this rule many years ago from a long-time friend of my oldest son. I’m sure there is a story behind this rule, and I would love to know the background … but the mom in me thinks it would be better if I didn’t know.
At any rate, it quickly became one of my favourites and I now invoke it frequently.
This past weekend, Misha and I were exploring a new-to-me trail about 2 hours north of Toronto. With a name like “Standing Rock and Caves” we had high expectations, and we were not disappointed.
On our very first descent into a rock crevice, Misha made the observation that the No-Dying Rule was finally going to have some real meaning to our hike. The dangers were significant and not to be discounted … not to mention the slippery icy patches that just added to the OMG element.
While Misha navigated the trail with relative ease, my shorter and weaker legs became a serious handicap. I was often scrambling on hands and knees to maneuver over and around the rocks that defined the trail.
He waited patiently while I gingerly poked along trying to avoid the possibility of blowing out a knee, breaking an ankle, or – heaven forbid – falling and cracking my head open on a rock. These were not comforting thoughts.
Had my aging body finally knocked some sense into my young-at-heart spirit?!
More than a few times my stomach clenched as I squeezed through tight spaces in the rock walls. This was literally the stuff of my nightmares.
And when we finally reached the relative safety of easy terrain at the end of this section of trail, there was only one thing for us to do – turn around and do it all over again in the opposite direction.
After all, that’s what we came here to do.
More importantly, no adventurers – young or old – were injured in the making of this story.
All photos were taken with shaking hands on my cell phone. The blurry photos can be attributed to the cold – or fear.