Climbing Latsch

147149The weatherman was predicting wet, rainy weather for Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend so my hubby and I decided to scrap our Saturday work plans and carry out our Monday recreational ones instead. The sky was blue and the sun was shining as we set out at 8 a.m. The first stop was for food at the Kwik Trip in Kellogg – I know, a really healthy breakfast. Our destination was to be the John Latsch State Park north of Winona on Hwy 61. It has been many years since we have attempted its 592 steps going ½ mile up the side of the bluff. My hubby really wanted to know “am I still man enough to do this?” After all, he turns 60 this year.

Many years ago when we were young and dating, we made the climb several times. At that time, there were no man-made steps. One got to the top by scrambling and climbing on hands and knees up the steep side of the bluff. At the top is a stunning view of the Mississippi River Valley in both directions. Coming down, at that point in time, was a matter of periodically halting the rapid slide.

139129After multiple stops to catch our breath and 592 steps later, we both made it to the top. Our hearts were pounding furiously as if they were trying to jump out of our chests. Many places along the path, there are no hand rails so I spent a significant amount of time watching where I was putting my feet. I decided that my regular daily exercise routine would not be necessary for this Saturday. While I relaxed and enjoyed the scenery, my hubby set up his camera and pursued one of his many hobbies – photographing the awesome beauty of God’s creation.100

Then it was time to make the journey back down. My knees were complaining mightily at being bent 592 times again. I was not sure they were going to hold out until we reached the bottom. At the end of one section of steps, my left ankle overturned just as I was stepping down to the next step. In an attempt to save my ankle, I left myself careen off the trail into the woods. As I grabbed desperately for trees to break my headlong plunge, I could hear my spouse frantically hollering, “Are you OK? Are you OK?” Yeah. I just thought I would take the fast way down. After dusting myself off, there did not seem to be any permanent damage so we continued our journey to the bottom. We both felt like wobbly-legged chickens by the time we got down with our leg muscles screaming to stop. But we did it!!! Not too old yet!

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