A 10,000-step journey begins on the couch


So our daughter graduated from Hermantown and is currently finishing up her first year of college. After delivering her and her mountains of stuff to Mankato last August, my wife and I soon found ourselves with an abundance of extra hours in our day. We didn’t realize just how much of our parental existence had been focused on the kid. For example, we drove up and down the hill to Hermantown more times than Bill Gronseth drives up and down I-35 for job interviews.

To fill this sudden gift of time, and to take our minds off the fact that our only offspring was no longer under our feet but still jammed into our hearts, we created the Empty Nest Adventures. Some of these adventures have been formidable ...

  • Geocaching the entire stretch of Willard Munger Trail between Barnum and Moose Lake.
  • Completing the 125 Minnesota State Park Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge.
  • Snowshoeing up, down and all around the Superior Hiking Trail.
  • Battling a series of rabid seagulls, ships of massively tall heights and humongous hordes of sweaty tourists in our quest for the Mystical Onion Ring of Canal Park. (OK, I made that one up. We’d never venture into Canal Park in the summer. We’re adventurers, not crazy people.)

… while some of them have been a bit more mundane. However, that doesn’t mean they are any less difficult. Case in point: the Matuszak 10,000 Steps Challenge.

Each day, Sue and I strive to push our 50(ish)-year-old bodies to take at least 10,000 steps. You don’t burn a lot of calories slouched on the couch watching “One Day at a Time” reruns on Antenna TV. (Although that Schneider is hilarious! Constantly barging into a single woman’s apartment unannounced. Classic technique from the Trump School of Building and Pageant Management.)

When the weather was nicer, reaching our step count was as easy as reading the name of a Best Picture Oscar winner. You’d start, then realize a mistake had been made (usually involving a lack of pants), apologize to Warren Beatty and be on your way. Simple.

But when the brutal winds of winter devoured Duluth, walking outside became decidedly less fun. After slipping and sliding through every major intersection in West Duluth, it quickly became apparent that achieving our goal of 10,000 steps would be much easier without ice. We were going to have to move indoors. But where? Slowly, our gaze turned back up that hill we were so familiar with and settled on … the Miller Hill Mall.

The perfect winter walking solution!

Or so we thought.

(To be continued … )