Know When to Fold Em

Wendy and I have been attending concerts for so long, we can’t even remember how many specific ones we have been to together. Since I moved to Oregon in 2010, we have made it a priority to attend at least one summer show together, it’s one of our favorite traditions.

Amber and Wendy watching Emmylou Harris, Neko Case, and Brandi Carlisle at the Gorge.

A cancelled concert is the reason we started backpacking together in the first place. Last year, when our Alanis Morissette concert got cancelled due to Covid, we turned disappointment into adventure and decided to take a two night, three day backpacking trip on Mt Hood. The whole experience helped us to reduce stress eating and drinking, and to love the bodies we are in. We kept active all Winter and set our goals for an even tougher challenge in 2021-the epic but tough Wallowas, in Eastern Oregon.

Wendy and Amber on trail, Mt Hood Wilderness, OR.

The most important lesson that I have learned in this year of Covid uncertainty is how to be flexible. When I went up to visit Wendy recently, and to see Sleater-Kinney and Wilco, she had some bad news. Due to a back injury, her physical therapist had advised against our September backpacking trip. Wendy was scared I would be disappointed, but I assured her that her health is more important than reaching a specific backpacking goal. I’ll be honest, we have all had a busy summer, and I am not be as ready as I want to be for the type of elevation gain we were targeting. I am pretty sure that even my dad was not ready, because he jokingly asked if he should text Wendy to say sorry you are hurt, but thanks for the trip being cancelled!

So we pivoted. We made a new plan to visit the Oregon coast together in January, and we will tackle the Wallowas next summer. We are going to continue to day hike, snow shoe, and cross-country ski our way into being physically ready for next year’s trip. Fingers crossed that no injuries sideline us, but if it happens, we will adjust like we did this year.

After twenty years of friendship with this amazing lady, I know she will be even stronger next year. Let’s be honest- I need the extra time too!

As Kenny Rodgers said on the record we played that night at Wendy’s: “You got to know when to hold em, know to to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run”….. We’ve got time to meet our goals. What matters is getting there safely, and getting there together.

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