A friend has a family ranch, just north of Yellowstone, in Wyoming. Her grandfather bought a chunk of land back in the 1920’s, and the family has been carefully adding modest structures and maintaining the place ever since. They have been perfect stewards of one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
We drove in, via Red Lodge, Montana over Bear Tooth pass (10,900 feet and a scary drive). There were a dozen of us, mostly friends of long standing; we’d have had a good time anyplace but here… oh yes. Once settled in, there was serious hiking (a ranger warned there were grizzlies a couple of hills over and we carried bear spray; Eek!), some not very serious trail riding and some spectacular fly fishing. There were fires in huge fireplaces on the cool nights, good food and a sufficiency of wine and booze.
None of us were kids (except Hilary), but we were mostly fit and could do demanding stuff. A new friend was game but in less good shape, and he was carrying a few pounds; I worried about him. And darned if he didn’t fall on a mountain trail and bust his ankle pretty badly. He was wonderfully graceful about it, but it was tough and will be for the next couple of months. Would it have happened, even if he’d been in good shape? Possibly. But the chances would have been much reduced. Probably by more than half. An unfit, overweight person, over 70, is an accident waiting to happen…maybe a bad one. Break your ankle…not great. But break your hip, say… Oh, boy! Get in shape! That message just gets more urgent after sixty. Because accidents get more and more serious.
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