Vera Koo learned a lot more than what it takes to get to the top of the Lanikai Pillbox hike in Hawaii. She discovers what time does to us all, if we’re fortunate enough to get there. 

I took an elective course in horseback riding while I attended college. I am not naturally athletic. My family did not raise me around sports. And I did not have a background in horseback riding – unlike my husband, Carlos.

Carlos and I started dating a couple of weeks before I went to college. He’s always been very active and sporty, and he’s done equestrian most of his life. Throughout our 53 years of marriage, Carlos has introduced me to so many outdoors activities and sports. We’ve enjoyed horseback riding, downhill skiing, windsurfing, water skiing, camping and hiking. 

Vera Koo skydiving

Throughout it all, he’s been my guide. Carlos would introduce me to a sport, support me as a I gained competency in the sport and serve as my safety net. 

The Shooting Sports

Sport shooting was an exception. I pursued sport shooting on my own. I wanted to learn handgun safety and how to shoot so that I would not have a fear of firearms. I enrolled in instruction courses and later sought mentors as I started in the sport.

Vera Koo How the Shooting Sports Saved My Life feature
(Chris Tropea photo)

But, other than shooting, my sporting adventures have unfolded with Carlos at my side.

That was true for my horseback riding college elective, too. I remember, I could not make my horse cantor at first. Carlos helped me. He would rush at the back of the horse and make it cantor. 

Hawaii Trials and Times

Earlier this year, though, Carlos was unable to join me on a hike to the Lanikai Pillbox in Hawaii. He’s 78 – three years older than me – and he felt he physically could not make the trek up the trail.

I hiked to the Lanikai Pillbox with my daughter, Christina, and granddaughter, Ashley. On a previous trip to Hawaii earlier in the year, our family endured a distressing experience while kayaking in the Pacific Ocean amid strong winds. 

getting-ready-for-kayaking
Each of our family’s three kayaks capsized during that excursion. Carlos, in particular, struggled in the water in what became a frightening situation. After our kayaking incident, Carlos said, “Vera, I can no longer take care of you, because I can no longer take care of myself.’”

Continue reading this blog post at Women’s Outdoor News.

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