Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

She Finally Sees Him Warm Up to Best of Seasonal Assets

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

She Finally Sees Him Warm Up to Best of Seasonal Assets

Article excerpt

Our first year of dating was like boot camp. Each summer weekend of 1997, Greg and I matched our skills in running, hiking, biking, swimming and rock climbing.

We trained at the Mt. Lebanon track and entered 5K races on weekends. My heart rate soared, trying to keep up with his hiking pace. I admired his muscular back during climbing; he liked my long legs on the bike.

After a few months we included in the mix our kids from previous marriages. Greg's daughter was 15, my son was 14 and Greg's son was 13. Parenting proved to be the most challenging of all activities. We observed each other patiently interact with all three kids while hiking, biking and climbing, and we learned.

During our second year together, I introduced him to downhill and cross-country skiing. He tried both, but there was a line that he would not cross: 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If the outdoor thermometer registered less than 15 degrees, the excuses began: the tax season ("Sorry, I have clients coming in today"); the indoor climbing wall ("Gee, I promised the boys that I would go to the wall"); cozy crossword puzzles ("It's nice and warm in here").

During the third winter together, I finally convinced him to try a weekend of winter camping. Before we met, my vacations included hiking up snowy peaks, using crampons, ice axes, snowshoes and mountaineering boots. He loved climbing to the top of a rock face, so I was sure he would love the snow-covered vistas as well.

If you ask Greg about that winter camping weekend in an area of Allegheny National Forest called Hearts Content, he will tell you that he was miserably cold, always hungry and unbearably bored. He endured the orienteering part of the hike (using a map and compass to find our overnight site), but he hated the camping part.

Our evening entertainment was erecting the tent, boiling water, rehydrating dried food, drinking hot chocolate and watching our gloves dry near a campfire on the edge of an ice-covered lake. At 6 p.m. the sun set and the temperature dropped to 0 degrees. Greg had one mission: to crawl into his sleeping bag in hopes of forgetting how cold he was. …

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