Steps – 8/3/2021

Willis' single step
Willis’ single step

Every journey begins with a single step. Our first step in deciding to hike Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park in June 2022, was to declare that is what we are going to do. Then we looked at why we want to do that – our Purpose. Then what it will give us to hike the Falls. And then the how – all the steps it will take – some known, some to be discovered. There are 600 granite steps hiking up Vernal Falls. Who knows how many steps we will discover on our Journey of Self-Discovery.

Chapter 3, Part -1 July 2021

Journey of Self-Discovery – Steps

Steps – Walking Well

Walking Well
Walking Well

The first step in hiking the Falls is a sound foundation of whole-body movement. A good step in the right direction to creating that foundation is Walking Well. This series of classes created by Katy Bowman and Jill Miller combines the Roll Model® Balls for releasing fascia with Katy’s restorative exercises. Last October I had the pleasure, as a “goldener,” to be requested by Katy to test Walking Well.  I found it improved my balance, endurance and overall movement. No matter what your Journey of Self-Discovery may be, I believe this is a good place to start.

Steps – Medical Clearance

On our journey to hike the Falls, July began auspiciously with a visit to Willis’ orthopedic surgeon and x-rays of both hips to be sure he had done no damage on our 7-mile hike in June. Good news! No damage and he was cleared to prepare to hike the Falls as long as he listens to his body and does not overdo. His right leg (the replaced hip) is weaker than the left so he has again started physical therapy. He is seeing good results and is continuing to exercise and hike regularly.

Steps – Recognizing Beliefs

Joan: My learning thus far is that I have a belief there is only one way to get from where I am now to where I am able to hike the Falls next June. I have established a regular hiking schedule as well as exercise schedule. Based on this belief, this is the behavior I am choosing and as long as I follow it, I see myself as someone who is on track. What happens if that doesn’t work – if life gets in the way? I can choose to change my belief, which will change my behavior and how I see myself. As a coach, I know there are always other possibilities. Becoming aware of my beliefs is the first step to finding other possibilities. This is where as a coach, I can help my clients see what beliefs may be getting in their way so they can make a new choice.

Willis has a belief that he needs to be enthusiastic before he will exercise. What creates enthusiasm for him? Seeing results. What results?  Measurable gains in strength and endurance and flexibility. What will that look like for him? Keeping track on a wall calendar of each day he exercises and hikes and measuring improvements where possible. Sounds like he has a belief that measurable progress equals enthusiasm equals regular exercise and hiking. This belief seems to be working for him thus far.

Steps – Learning

What I am learning from having this joint outcome with Willis to hike the Falls is that I will prepare my way and he will do it his way and neither one is right/wrong or good/bad. It is just our beliefs based on our experience. That is quite freeing – I can let go of getting frustrated because he is not doing it my way and I can move forward in doing my preparation my way. And if the two paths meet, YAY! That will be fun! And, of course, we will hike together and plan together for our ultimate outcome.

Steps – Unique Strength Training Class Coming

My good friend and fellow Restorative Exercise Specialist (RES), Nancy Burns, owner of Body Wisdom Studio, has agreed to be our personal trainer for our journey to hike the Falls. She is creating a new on-line streaming 12-week series of  strength training classes called Be Stronger specifically designed for older adults incorporating Restorative Exercise alignment. These classes will be available to everyone on-line live! You can literally join us to safely and effectively become stronger as you dynamically age. We are excited! Stay tuned for the announcement of when registration for the classes begins.

Steps – Movement Outdoors When It’s Hot

Joan climbing steps at the beach
Joan climbing steps at the beach

It is hot in the summer where we live and mountain hikes near us do not provide much shade. Our Ranch is in a forest on a mountain so we do a lot of hiking here in the early mornings. Our trails are configured so we can hike as long and as far as we choose and it is all up and down. Great training ground! We have put in over 400 steps on the steepest inclines. Hiking these helps get us ready for the 600 granite steps hiking up Vernal Falls. We are also doing 5-mile hikes at our nearby beaches. The first half of July, we hiked 2-3 times a week ranging in distance between 2 and 5 miles. We can see we are getting stronger and going longer and faster. Measurable results that bring enthusiasm and keep us training.

Next: Chapter 3, Part II – July 2021



  1. Hi Joan,
    I enjoy your blog posts very much and it helps to keep me motivated in whatever activities I am doing.
    I have hiked Vernal Falls and Half dome many years ago, it’s a beautiful hike.
    Keep it up!

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Brenda! So good to hear from you. Sounds like you have personal knowledge of what we are taking on. Thanks for the encouragement. We are excited!

Comments are closed.