Some of you may be tired of constantly talking about how my wife has MS, but of course, it's kind of a big part of my life. The folks on the forums have been great in listening and offering your support. There have also been a number of people here who have just been so wonderful in PM'ing me with thoughts, prayers, ideas, support and their own personal stories.
One person in particular after my TR last week was particularly inspiring, with a couple of stories of people with MS who have refused to give up. To you, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.
Necia said to me last week, "I want to hike back up to Garfield." I was stymied. "Uh, uhh, uhhhhh, you can't, it's 5 miles!" She has balance issues, she can't walk far, pain is a constant in her life. We both realized we were being silly (her for wanting to hike so far, and me for immediately ruling it out), and decided to just try little hikes at first, and see how it goes. If need be, we'd find our "New Garfield." But this was said in the vain of not having a lot of commitment. It was that PM that spurred us on and gave us some hope (a valuable but elusive entity) that we could possibly hold off on this disease as much as possible.
So what better that the back of our house, the Mink Hills, with its own little trail system. We set off, completely at her pace, with the understanding she could turn around at any point, but she would have to call it. The trail is about 0.2 miles away, but the old road going to the Osgood cellar hole is more accessible and connects to the trail. It was a horribly long walk to the old road. If you look closely at the first picture, you might see my house.
We quickly came to a recently logged area with a restricted view of the fall colors a'comin'. I can imagine this wood might keep some family nice and warm in the winters.
The old road is getting overgrown (I hate to see this piece of history disappear, and I keep it mowed to the property line), the path is more sensed than seen. We set off slowly as I knew we must, which was a pleasure. It was nice to see things instead of watching my feet. There were a number of blowdowns, which Neesh handled ably. I had loaned her (for a small price) my hiking poles, which she said helped her immensely. "Yes," says I, "they're like two legs that actually work." Typical of the dark humor that flows so easily between us.
We came to the actual trail (a logging road here), and she said she'd like to keep going. If she got this far and no more, I would have been immensely pleased and proud. No, not my Necia, stubborn French/New England stock, we don't give up easily. On we go, now enjoying a trail instead of a pseudo-whack. I turn to her and say, "honey, we're hiking together again." She gives me a big grin back and says "Yes, we are!" I am a very happy man at this point.
We come to the first clearing, a point where a logging road diverges off, and she still want to go on. Wow. She's doing way better than I expected. The grades are slight at this point, but not unnoticeable. On to the second clearing, the point near the Osgood cellar hole. I'm flabbergasted. This is 0.4 miles from home. I point out the cellar hole, which belonged to the sons of the man who built our house.
She still wants to go on. I'm getting a little worried now, as the grades steepen ahead to a moderate to somewhat steep level. But, this is her decision, and I won't question it. Shortly after this, she decides it might be wise to turn around. A good decision, and I'm still in shock of how far she's made it. It opens up a realm of possibilities of where we might hike again. It provides hope, if nothing more of just to do something we loved doing. We discuss this on the way down, and we wonder if Garfield might not indeed be out of the question some day.
By the time we reach the old road, she's struggling, realizing she pushed herself a little much. No matter, time is not of the essence. The blowdowns are not welcome at this point, but she pushes on, at the same steady pace as before. The promise of a Special Salty Cocktail provides the impetus to push forward.
I was beaming when we got home, and we're already looking forward to another outing this week. We had even joked (or did we?!) about getting her a pair of snowshoes.
Again, thank you to all.
Final thought: Only I could make a 0.8 mile trip report this long.