As I have mentioned previously, I grew up at the top of a hill. Only recently have I realized how cool that was. I can thank my location for strong legs and a fine appreciation for “catching a ride” once in a while.
We kids had a shortcut path that we chose to tread upon on our journey “to and from” school . Once we had more than 5″ of snow we were forced to take the “long way”. This trade-off for the shorter time revolved around a wooded path that a mountain goat might well avoid. Much of it was more than 45 degrees steep and had to be navigated by clinging onto young trees. On a few muddy days, I literally climbed it on hands and knees. The worst thing that could happen would be a notebook coming loose and sliding many yards back to the bottom! This brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions. I didn’t HAVE to struggle. There was no way to avoid a climb but following the roadway would have been many times easier and take easily 1/2 an hour longer. Precious playtime was ticking away, after all. Besides, the shortcut challenge made “a man” out of me 🙂
Once I navigated the first, longest, steep course, there was a resting tree that afforded a seat. Even in my prime of 6 years old, I would be winded a bit. Now the cool part was where my house was located. My house was next to last on an upper level. From my house, I could easily see the lower “flat”. In between, was a gradual upgraded u-turn circling the road back parallel to itself.. Like I said, I lived on a hilltop.
An elderly couple lived on the level just below my house. One way to expedite my last leg was to cut through their yard and navigate one more steep climb. The only “fee” was to stop and accept a cookie and a brief friendly chat. Worked for me!
This final shortcut required hanging on to things also. It was no more than 50 feet but this one could separate the “men from the boys”, my friend. The gravel road side would have been insurmountable if it hadn’t been for one well placed telephone pole guide wire. The wire was necessary to keep that pole anchored against the grade of the terrain. The last few steps were similar to ascending the mast of a tall ship which happened to be made from loose marbles.
Made it! Whew!
Who needed gym class to stay fit. I just walked home along shortcuts 🙂