ouch, but a good ouch

09 Jun

Last week was pretty much the week from hell. Among other things, I was saddled with leading a work project I wasn’t expecting when I came in Monday morning, though I’ve been kicking the project’s ass, and been granted the auspicious (and somewhat questionable) title of Test Commander. Sadly, I haven’t been issued a badge or anything, but I did make this one for myself:

The weekend, however, was somewhat better. I got a chance to rest a little bit on Friday, which I needed desperately, and spent the day Saturday on top of a mountain with a bunch of friends, for this summer’s first expedition into the Blue Ridge to hike a bit of the Appalachian Trail.

Here we are before setting off. See how fresh-faced and energetic we seem so early on a Saturday morning!

I’d done this particular section before (Thornton Gap to the Byrd’s Nest shelter and back, with a stop off at Mary’s Rock), though it’s been a while since I did the Mary’s Rock ascent, which is about a mile and a half straight up. Sadly, I set the pace for our group – slow and steady on the ascent – as a favored the ankle I twisted a while back taking a bad step around a pile of toner cartridges in the office (First World Problems), and also because I’m a little fat, old, and slow at the moment.

In any case we survived the roughly eight mile round trip (with an almost 2000 foot elevation change each way) with minimal difficulty, engaging in enjoyable (and occasionally ribald) banter for the duration, and encountering one vicious, bloodthirsty snake (which may be a slight exaggeration), eventually celebrating our success with libations and cheese at The Culpeper Cheese Company, which has become our traditional post-expeditionary rally point. Highlights this time were The Drunken Goat (cheese) and Apocalypse Ale Works’ Lustful Maiden (not cheese).

All was well and good, except for the aches of age I’m still feeling in my calves two days later. I’m doing my best to fight off the unstoppable force of aging, but I’m slowly losing ground. I was in worse shape (and at least 20 pounds heavier) when I last tackled this particular ascent (and there were four inches of snow on the ground at the time), but adding another couple of years of wear and tear on the body is feeling pretty damned apparent right now.

Sunday I spent a little time playing some country music, backing up my buddy Steve Wyse for a couple of tunes along with another ephemeral version of the Down Home Dharma band, getting chance to stretch my lead guitar skills a bit (luckily, the solo breaks didn’t extend past my 45 seconds or so of competency, so I didn’t embarass myself too much), and having a good time doing it. If you get the chance, I highly recommend checking out Steve’s current band, Cha Cha’s Cadillac, for some great country-punk rockabilly music.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I’m hoping this week is quiet, unless the noise involves guys tacking up vinyl siding on my house, since order ought to be getting in from the factory soon. I’m actually pretty impatient for this business to be over with.


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