You Have To Know Your Limits!


“You have to know your limits ,Mom,” said my thirty-something daughter.  “You are old and you can’t push yourself anymore.”

She said this because my face, neck and chest were a deep red-almost blue to purple color, you know, the color of beets.   And,  maybe  I wobbled,  looking as if I was trying to keep my balance at each step, which I was.  Those two points don’t necessarily mean it was heat-stroke.

Anza Borrego–

Ok, we went to the desert to visit Anza Borrgo Park. It is spring and all the wild flowers were in full bloom.  Bright yellow dollops  of flowers gave the illusion of a beautifully, textured, pastel-green, fabric dotted  with yellow polka dots.

Late Start

We left three hours later than we  should have–we also stopped in the middle of the mountain  to take  pictures, and then we dawdled at the potty/water stop.

By this time, the road into the park was closed.  All the smart people had gotten there before we did.

Parking Nightmare

We parked the car a good half a mile from the entrance, then once inside the park, it is a quarter of a mile in before you come to a trail.  On top of that, it is  another quarter of a mile to the visitor center.  After getting our bearings there, yes, we walked another quarter of a mile to the trail head.  Yeah, we were finally at the point where we wanted to START our hike.    Our bodies only move in quarter mile distances before it makes the brain kick in, telling it to ask the question, how much further?  The young couple, looking warm, but not exhausted, gave us hope that we had almost made it.  Our mouths dropped in disbelief when they told us, it was “only” a mile and half in, but it was mostly uphill from there.


Did I mention it was 98 degrees?

I had been very determined to see the oasis.  I had planned for this and no matter what, I would see the oasis!

Once the young man told us it was another three miles after all the miles we already had walked, my brain kicked in and started screaming, turn around! I shook my head and yes, I turned around in utter disappointment.

I knew I could not make it all the way, but if only….

Once we turned around, I think the temperature increased and my body and mouth were as dry as the desert sand we were trudging through.  I sagged and dragged my feet.  We had gotten ahead of my daughter and her friend, but when we re-united, the first thing my daughter said was, “Mom, are you ok?   You are soooooo red.”


I had no choice, the only way out is to walk, or be carried by a stretcher.  I walked!  I made it to the water station by swaying with the wind, and holding my arms out for balance.  The girls  filled my husband’s hat and they poured cold water over my head three times. (Although, I must admit, it did not feel very cold.)  I thought I was smart by wearing a white t-shirt–it would reflect the sunlight.  That is true.  However, when you are dosed with water to  prevent you  from passing out–my  white t-shirt made me look like I was competing in a white t-shirt contest!  My daughter wanted to take a picture with her parents, but took one look at my shirt and changed her mind.

As you can see, I did survive, but I did not win any race walking back to the car.

I think I know now the meaning of “hot as hell.”

Bless air-conditioning.

After listening to my daughter’s  admonishment, I was devastated.  I dont want to be too old to walk in the desert.  I don’t want to be too old to hike.  I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO OLD!

I came home to lick my wounds.  Out in the backyard,  I sat in my rocking chair, with a blanket over my legs and drank some warm tea.  I contemplated, and I had a short pity party.  They can’t be too long at our age.

I came to the conclusion that I may have some limits in the desert, but I dont want to continue through life thinking I have to limit myself TOO much.

Tomorrow,  I will limit myself to a 15 mile bike ride along the  coast.  It won’t be too hot there.



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