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He won my heart by offering to pick me up from high school every afternoon in his Saab, which saved the indignity of walking.After graduation, I returned the favor by dragging him on difficult hikes in the Wasatch Mountains.Friends were either out of town or busy with back-to-school.It felt anticlimactic to become the age that my peers had been for months. But what would that say about my impending senescence, if a milestone birthday brought the perfect excuse for a silly adventure, and I just let it pass me by?
I'd first imagined the adventure one year ago, as I was jogging down Old Fall River Road after summiting three 13,000-foot peaks that just happened to be a ridge I wanted to traverse in Rocky Mountain National Park.I attempted to kick my body sideways — the way one stops a snowboard — and began to spin. I remember feeling confident that if I couldn’t stop before I hit the lake I’d just swim, not acknowledging that my body would probably be spinning at freeway speeds when I hit the shallow water.Eventually the whirling slowed, my head stopped spinning, and I staggered onto my feet.The campsite was ideal; it meant I'd get all of the road-walking — 12 miles' worth — out of the way on the first day.Although I'll admit that I quietly love boring, predictable road-walking.
"I did three 13ers for my 39th, which means I need to do four 14ers for my 40th!