Today I really worked on my balance. The hike to the top of Mount Sanitas was even longer and steeper than yesterday’s hike to Royal Arch. But today I didn’t use my trekking poles – and didn’t regret going without them.
For years I had wanted to climb this nearby mountain. But the arthritis in my left knee stopped me. After that, the trail brought back unpleasant memories of Catherine’s operation at the nearby hospital. While they drained the ascites, the fluid that accumulated in her stomach as the result of her failing liver, I hiked the lower part of the trail.
But most of the trail today was new to me. I chose it because I was hiking in the afternoon and I wanted a view to the east (not into the sun). This morning I was at my desk writing an article.
Today was a beautiful day in Boulder, and the weatherman predicts much colder weather in the next few days. So I had to hit the trail today.
They call it Mount Sanitas after the Boulder Sanitarium, now a different part of the Boulder Community Hospital, the Mapleton Medical Center. It was at that part of the hospital where I got the awful sleep study a few months ago. I hardly slept at all that night, but the memories are not as painful as those of Catherine’s illness and death.
Coming back from the summit I made a circuit hike by taking a different trail that was even steeper than the one going up. A sign at the top says that an Outbound group built it in two days. They should have taken a little longer, because some sections don’t really deserve the name “trail.” Still, I had a good time and stayed on my feet the whole way and improved my balance.
Coming down I reflected on the words of the German philosopher Nietzche, which I had read again on the flight back from seeing Karen. This time it was in a book that my friend Tom Schulte gave me, the classic Man’s Search for Meaning, by Vickor E. Frankl.
“Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärcker,” Nietzche wrote. In English, “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.”
I’m still here. I am stronger.