Recently I was reminded that my disabilities have limitations and kindness still exists.
There is a hiking trail in our area that is 45km/28 miles long that I have been obsessing over. I wanted to complete this trail with my dog Brandy, my 13 year old Black Labrador. We walk almost every morning as part of our therapy, her for her arthritis and me for my knee and brain Injury. I had a plan, we would break the trail down into sections and do the trail over the summer and maybe into the fall. The big question was how far could we go each time and would there be a good landmark to exit at?
A challenge I now have, is I have difficulty thinking linearly. This is an issue with time, distance and quantity. Planning one these adventures takes two of these challenges, time and distance and I unfortunately didn’t manage either of them very well. I was sure that the distance that we were going to travel on the first leg was no more then 3 km, which is longer then any walk we had taken in the past but since the trail was supposed to be well groomed, I figured we might be able to manage it if we took enough breaks along the way, smart cookie. We normally walk in parks with lots of trees, we knew this trail wouldn’t have any trees for protection from the sun, so we wanted to start early and finish before the temperature climbed.
Most of everything that was planned went wrong. We took longer to walk and needed to rest more often then we had expected. This kept us on the trail longer, allowing us to enjoy the views, it also exposed us to the sun longer. The point in the trail where we were planning to exit wasn’t where we expected it to be. We were sure we had to be close to the end of our walk by the time we reached the third marker. Our exit point was much further down the trail by another couple of kilometers. We were not going to complete our plan, it was time to give up on our plan. We were both getting sore and walking slower. We were also taking longer and stopping more frequently for breaks.
Linearly thinking gone wrong, we walked further then we planned and we were still short of where we needed to be. Our walking time was double what we had planned on. Sometimes, the start and end points get jumbled on a linear line and it’s hard to sort them out, this is how a plan can get messed up from the start.
Disability, as much as I want to be positive and focus on Ability, sometimes I am reminded there are Limitations.
A new problem had to be dealt with, how do we exit from the middle of the trail. We would have to go cross country, over a levy, through a ditch full of bull rushes and cross a short field to a gravel road. Once we reached the road, we could contact our ride that was waiting for us at the exit point we were not going to make.
While we were standing on the road a friendly neighbour approached us and offered us water and a shaded place to rest while we waited for our ride. They had two bowls of water for Brandy, that she quickly made a dent in. We sat in the shade and shared stories about the shepherds they once had, and the long walks on the trail they enjoyed, the trail, health care and better days.
Kindness, two people offered water and shade to a dog and her human, they found standing on the road.
We have a goal, to complete this 45km trail. We expect her arthritis, my knee and brain injury to give us challenges, when they do, we will adjust our plans and work around those Limitations. There will be more visits needed to the trail and shorter distances of walks, but we will follow through with our plan and make it to the end.