Monday, March 14, 2011

A Milestone Day


Today is my first day as either retired or unemployed - Again. 


See, I retired from the Navy, went to work as a federal bureaucrat for awhile, left that job to be with fambly as our folk's health declined. Mary and I sailed our 32' sailboat from the Chesapeake to Michigan, and settled in.

After a bit I decided to supplement my meager retirement stipend, and took part-time gig with a brand new big-box hardware store. About the time I was starting to worry about my exit strategy so that I can make this hike, the mucky-mucks at corporate were worrying if this particular store was ever going to be profitable. In the end, they decided to close the store that I had helped open just five years ago. I was offered a position in another store, or a severance package, and I accepted the latter. 


I'm still not sure if I'm finally retired, or just temporarily unemployed, but at least I don't have to worry about my exit strategy. This will allow us to backpack this summer and fall, and to maintain a conditioning routine through the winter.


So today, Mary and I put on our hiking clothes and went for a 6 mile walk. She's been doing 3 miles a day for the last week while I've been working, and this was the first long walk I've taken since early winter. We decided to walk to a nearby nature preserve where a geocache was recently hidden. It was 32 degrees with a light wind and sunny when we left, with promises of reaching 40. Sounds like late March in Georgia - except maybe the sunny part. I wore a base layer, a thin fleece and my new Goretex Paclite jacket on top, a base layer and thin nylon hiking pants, a fleece hat and soft-shell gloves. It was near perfect. Mary got a bit overheated, and her lightweight down-filled gloves were too much for her. The trail in the preserve was covered with well-consolidated snow that we could walk on without post-holing. Wool socks with trail-runners were fine. A few joints protested, but that quickly passed. My hip started to bother me a bit towards the end. I'd expect that to just get better with more walking.


We found the cache.