CHICAGO, ONE WEEK PRIOR TO DEPARTURE
I pull-on my egregiously masculine hiking shoes, tighten them around my ankles for support. Secure my earbuds and start my How Was Your Week? podcast. Look at my watch. 7:07. Let’s do this.
13 steps up. 13 steps down. 13 steps up. 13 steps down.
My cats look at me suspiciously. That Lady has finally lost it.
I am conducting a test run, here in my condo, of climbing Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka. Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) is a mountain in Central Sri Lanka that is a holy site to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Muslims: the large footprint at the top was left by either Adam, Lord Shiva or Buddha, depending upon who you ask. Climbing Adam’s Peak is an important pilgrimage for many Sri Lankans, especially Buddhists.
The trek to the the summit of Adam’s Peak is greater than 7,000 feet — over 5,200 steps. I’ve calculated that climbing my loft stairs (13 steps) 100 times is the equivalent of climbing one-quarter of Adam’s Peak. Minus the altitude change, not factoring in the freezing temperature at the top and overlooking the fact that it’s a consecutive 5,200 steps up.
I finish my trial hike in around 30 minutes, a little winded but not entirely exhausted. I guess that’s that. I guess I’m climbing Adam’s Peak.
CHICAGO, DAY OF DEPARTURE
I have only one hour until my taxi arrives.
“What do you mean you don’t have knee braces?” I ask. REI, a massive, two-story shrine to trekking, sells every imaginable item a hiker would ever need. Except knee braces (my knees were a little tender the day after my stairs experiment). Instead, I buy special socks to protect my toes, a shirt that “breathes” and official hiking pants.
Crap! Parking ticket. I stop for one minute…
Run to Kaehler Luggage. No knee braces here. Dammit. Down to 20 minutes.
CVS! CVS has knee braces. I throw them in my basket, tossing in Pop-Tarts, Pringles and vodka as I jog to the counter. I’m going to need all of this stuff if I’m really climbing Adam’s Peak.