Climbing Preikestolen, Norway, in Comfortable Shoes

NorwayA few years ago we  hiked to the top of Preikestolen in Norway. Preikestolen is a steep cliff that rises 604 metres (1982 feet) above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau. It has an almost flat top of approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 by 82 feet), and is a very popular hiking destination.

We were advised to wear good walking shoes because of the terrain. The hike up was steep and challenging, but the view from the top of the cliff was breathtaking. We stopped at the summit long enough to catch our breath, admire the view, and have lunch.

As we sat munching sandwiches, an elderly Norwegian woman arrived. She wore a simple cotton dress, knee high hose, and comfortable older-fashion sandals. She looked like she had just stepped out the back door to put wash on the line.  I was amazed that she could clamber over the rocks and boulders in a dress and sandals, but she did, and apparently in relative ease. I was impressed!

More people arrived onto the plateau at the summit, and most of them were dressed in serious hiking footwear. Then a young women came into view. She was wearing white, pointed toe, thin soled go-go boots, with clothing to match the look she was trying to achieve. I was amazed that she could clamber over the rocks and boulders too, but the look on her face said she hadn’t found it as easy as the elderly lady. “Ouch”, her feet said.

We all made it off the mountain that day. Some had sorer feet than others.  But what I don’t really understand is why some women think they have to stuff their feet into uncomfortable shoes. Men don’t do that, do they? Why do women?

I suppose the answer to that question is, “It is fashionable.” So the next question is, why are so many women slaves to fashion?

Did you Get the H1N1 Flu Shot in 2009?

purple monster

Toonaday flu bugH1N1 was probably the most talked about topic in the whole world in 2009. Worldwide, annual flu epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths. In 2009, H1N1, or Swine Flu was the pandemic.

It was hard to pick through the rhetoric to find out how spooked (or not) you should be by this bug. The easiest to read and most user friendly source I found was at the US Department of Health site at FLU.GOV

Less easy to read, but useful to Canadians is FIGHT FLU

I wanted to understand how this flu affected my age group. Good News! According to several sources, there may be some benefit to being a healthy person over the age of 60. Research suggests a percentage of people in this age group may have some natural immunity to the H1N1 Flu virus. This immunity may not prevent you from getting the flu, but it may reduce the symptoms significantly.

Apparently H1N1 has met the criteria for inclusion as a pandemic.  I lived through the two previous flu pandemics, but I don’t remember anything about them. Will I live through this pandemic? It’s hard to say. I’m pretty healthy, but no one knows what this virus might do. Will I get the vaccine? I might, but I am not going to take a vaccine away from someone who is at greater risk than I am. According to the clinic in my area, the criteria for getting a flu shot this week is “pregnant women, children under five and people under 65 with chronic health issues”.

I’m not going to fall prey to all the hype and fear that swirls around this flu. That could make you sicker than the flu itself, I think.

I do, however, love all the stories that have circulated on the internet about Swine Flu and Miss Piggy…