After photographing USCG barque Eagle Friday afternoon, I wanted to take the deck tour on Saturday morning. The boarding ramp didn’t look like it would be too steep for my rollator at 9:30 am, low tide. But when I approached the stairs, I knew it would be a challenge. Both the ramp and steep stairs would have to be walked without the aid of my four–wheeled walker. I got on the ship with hard work and a sailor standing by. The main deck was fascinating and crew was fun to talk to, including officer candidate Flores, my tour chaperone.
The climb up the stairs disembarking Eagle was exhausting, especially going up. Two crew members guarded me against a fall in back and in front of me. On the last two steps, I asked for and got a “lift.” They were very happy to help me, and it was welcome. I thanked them for an excellent physical therapy session. Once on terra firma, my legs were shaking. I had pushed myself to the limit. When I heard the distant blasts of Eagle’s horn as she departed this afternoon, I realized what the experience was all about: I had challenged the stairs to stop me, and they could not.