Although it’s not out of the norm for us, my boyfriend and I have been going on a lot of hikes during quarantine.
If anyone knows my boyfriend, they know he’s always down for an adventure. His latest idea was a hike down and through the Pedernales River in Johnson City with a couple friends. He mapped the route through Google Maps, finding the spot where we would start and how we would ultimately end at his family’s river house. He estimated it was around 4-5 miles and would take us just round five hours to complete.
I think the word “trek” better describes this adventure than “hike.”
At some points, we were walking in the river at about ankle-high water, stepping from rock to rock, trying not to sprain an ankle. At others, we were literally swimming (more like treading water) while holding our backpacks above our heads. For the majority, we were waist-deep in the water, trying to keep our feet in front of us to keep from nailing our shin against all the rocks. It wasn’t easy or quick.
After about four hours into our adventure, we stopped to take a snack break only to realize it was 5:30 p.m. and we weren’t quite halfway yet. A little bit of panic set in as we realized we’d lose the sun and that we needed to start moving again. We opted to walk on the land beside the river whenever it was possible to help make up some time and ground.
With aching feet and legs, and some bruises and scratches, we finally made it a few hours later. The trip ended up being 11 miles and seven hours total. It certainly was an adventure for the books.
In the middle of our hike, one of our friends noted how it almost was a metaphor for the emotions many of us have been experiencing throughout quarantine and this pandemic.
At some points, you get in the groove, you’re cruising and feeling good. Then, seconds later, a rock comes up out of nowhere, hits you right in the shin and knocks you back down. At some points, you’re hopeful you’re close to the end, and other moments you feel like you’re never going to get there — I’m sure many of us have been experiencing similar feelings over the past month.
I won’t lie, I was in quite a lot of pain toward the end of our trip. My feet were bruised and swollen, and my legs were shaking from exhaustion. Thankfully, my boyfriend would slow down to help me up as I struggled to climb over rocks or just to cheer me on when I felt like I couldn’t move my legs anymore.
I think that’s an even better metaphor for how our Austin community has responded to COVID-19. This month’s Courage issue is your proof.
Courage comes in many different forms. It looks like healthcare workers putting their lives on the line, but it also looks like businesses adapting in order to help others struggling in our community, or neighbors who use their daily runs to deliver different items to those who need them in her neighborhood.
It also looks like fitness studios quickly pivoting to online formats to keep people active and exercising safely in their homes and continuing to support their members — or even non-members — throughout this time.
I’ve felt so encouraged and inspired as I’ve worked on this issue. What a comfort to know that rather than turning on each other, so many of us are going out of our way to love our neighbors. I hope this continues post-COVID-19.
It’s been a strange last few weeks, but we’re in this thing together the whole way through.
Keep Austin Fit,