Friday, August 31, 2007

Taking Time to Plot

I used to exercise daily. I have a treadmill and an elliptical trainer. The trainer is fairly new, but I’ve had the treadmill for years. I was consistent with walking on the treadmill daily. But I’ve gotten out of the habit.

I made a commitment to get back into walking after this trip. Something that happened yesterday on this trip reinforced that.

We drove up Hwy 14 on our drive from Bozeman, Montana, to Sheridan, Wyoming. And I do mean up. It’s miles and miles up a mountain on a winding road with little shoulder. The view is spectacular – huge valleys, mountains, big sky and trees, cliffs. Fabulous. For me, it was better than our drive through Yellowstone. Near the top we turned on a side road and drove up to Medicine Wheel, a Native American sacred ground.

Actually, you can’t drive right up to it. You go about a mile and a half up a dirt road, then park. Then you walk another mile and a half up the road. When you get to the Wheel, you’re at about 10,000 feet. It’s a great walk with wonderful views that you can use as an excuse to pause and get your breath.

Supposedly, being at the Medicine Wheel changes people. For me, it wasn’t so much the Wheel, as the walk up and back. It made me realize two things. One, I like to walk. Walking up the road to the Wheel was best, but even the treadmill energizes me. And two, walking is a great time to think. You can let your plot run through your head, hear characters having conversations, envision scenes playing out.

I’m going to get back into walking once I’m back home. After I get new tennis shoes. I need new shoes. Seriously.


  1. I've been similarly motivated re walking lately, Helen, and thoroughly enjoying it. One piece of advice for you... wait til the sun comes up. Thought it'd be way cool to walk by moonlight at 5am today. Did wear good shoes, did fall on my patootie, and will be out of commission a day or so. Lots of time to think and write, huh? Your trip sounds great. I'm green everywhere I'm not black and blue.

  2. Aaak, Paula, hope you're okay soon. No fears about me walking at 5 a.m. I'm not much of a morning person. I've gotten better, though, and now get up about 6:30. If I let my body clock rule, I'd stay up to about 2 or 3 in the morning and sleep till 10. But I do plan on walking in the morning. Cooler is a relative term in Texas, as you know.


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