My feet hurt, my back ached, and I could barely walk. I slowly strolled into the kitchen to make my morning coffee. It felt like a truck hit me the day before.
Getting old stinks is the thought that came to mind. It was last fall, and I was sore all over.
Kim and I hiked Old Rag Mountain the day before, and I was paying the price.
I had not done much hiking before this trip which was a mistake. I have to admit the views were worth the pain.
One of our first dates was a hike with great views
Kim enjoys the outdoors. I do as well, although I don’t spend much time there. One of the first dates that Kim and I went on was a hike.
She talked me into spending a Friday afternoon wandering high in the hills of Virginia. It was a great time. We spent several hours hiking, talking, and getting to know each other better.
Little did I know that Kim had packed several beers. I needed one after we reached the top. Smart move on her part. She is clever like that.
Why I wrote this billboard
Some days I am just plain lazy. The reality is that I enjoy being active most days to include the great outdoors and traveling.
What I learned on my many adventures is that the best views are at the top. Whether it is a mountaintop or a rooftop in a city — it is always worth the climb.
I wrote this billboard to remind myself to put in the effort and get to the top. Sometimes that means a long hike up a steep hill, or slogging up many flights of stairs.
The path does not matter much — it is the view that counts in the long run.
The older you get the harder the climb get
I am no spring chicken. I consider myself in decent shape for my age and I am noticing that the older I get the harder it is to climb things.
Stairs, hills, mountains — they are all more difficult to scale than when I was a young man.
Kim is younger than I am and it shows. When we were hiking up Old Rag she chose the tougher trail for going up and was jumping from rock to rock like Wonder Woman.
My ranger pride showed as I tried to keep pace. I held my own but paid for it the next day. Good thing is that I keep ibuprofen in my condo. I needed it the next day.
The more you climb the easier it gets to reach the views
I noticed that the more climbing you do the easier it gets. For example, when I am in Europe my legs and feet eventually adjust to all the walking around that I do.
The first climb to a building rooftop is usually a struggle, but they get easier as the trip progresses.
For example, last summer Kim and I took her kids to London, Brussels, and Paris. We included a side trip to Brugge, Belgium, one of my favorite European cities.
Climbing the stairs in St. Pauls Cathedral in London was painful. Getting to the top of the Belfry in Brugge was much better.
The more you climb the easier it gets.
The best city views are from above
It is true. If you want the best views in any city you need to aim high. The rooftops across New York City offer the best views of the city.
The good news in many cities is that you can take an elevator to the top. Not always true in Europe. Many European cities like London were built well before elevators were invented, so you may have to take the stairs.
Many medieval cathedrals have hard as hell to climb spiral staircases. Those windy steps will wipe you out.
I thought I was going to pass out climbing the Strasbourg cathedral stairs a few summers ago. Riley made fun of me the entire way up.
Trust me, the pain is worth it. The views from Strasbourg cathedral were wonderful.
How I incorporated this billboard into my life
I know the deal. If I want to see the best views I need to climb.
Nowadays getting to the top of a hill, mountain or rooftop is almost always on the agenda.
On my most recent trip to Catalonia, I visited a small city on the Med called Begur. There is a ruined castle on a nearby hilltop.
I climbed up to it and experienced awesome views of the sea on a sunny day. Another memorable experience that drained me, but was worth the pain.
What about you?
Are you putting in the effort to get the best views?
Are you willing to climb the mountain? If so — good for you. Keep climbing.
If not — get off the couch and get after it. The best views await you.
You have to climb the mountain to get to the top. The work is well worth the view.
I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.