I was a little bit nervous about the first hike with my mountaineering class because I am not in the best shape of my life and I hate carrying heavy things up mountains. I expected to be lagging at the back of the very fit crowd.
But lo! Apparently running the stairs in my office and walking the hills at lunchtime has kept me in better shape than I thought. I will never be able to keep up with the dudes who just race up the hill, but I can keep up with the bulk of the group. I never even felt like I was struggling. After we got down and went to a restaurant, I jogged on my way out to the car to get my rope to practice knots. (It was raining, thus the jogging, but the point is that I had the energy to jog.)
We hiked a little mountain that I've hiked before - it's about 3 miles up, with 2800' of elevation gain. Any time a hike approaches 1000' vertical feet per mile, I consider it strenuous. And I've hiked this mountain before, but it was two years ago when I was out of shape and having some issues figuring out how to pack the right food for hikes. I also hiked with some people who were radically in shape, so I almost don't even remember it. It was a haze of exhaustion and hypoglycemia.
Not so, this time around. Even when I had to carry the rope on the steepest part of the trail, I was near the front of the pack, looking back to make sure we didn't lose the stragglers.
The sun came out as we approached the tree line, but the wind threatened to blow us off the mountain. I put on my puffy jacket and my rain coat, and then I rolled up my neck warmer and put it over my ears.
At the very top, some of the experienced climbers had gone up before us and were waiting with snacks and hot chocolate.
Every climb should have people waiting at the top with snacks and hot chocolate.
And it didn't start dumping rain until we got back to the car, which is a complete win for spring in this part of the world.