Saturday, January 5, 2013

Long-distance ups and downs

There are fun things about backpacking long distances and there are hard things - just like dayhiking, except bigger.  Anyone who has been on a dayhike and climbed over a fallen tree knows that it can be a bit annoying.  But that pain is much, much bigger when you're hiking with a big pack on your back, you're 10 miles into a 15-mile day, and all you've eaten for the last three days has been stale bagels.

Sometimes while backpacking, you come across sections like this.   Should you go over or under or around?  Or call the whole thing off and wait for a teleportation device to be invented?
Or what about bocce ball?

 There are definitely days like this - days when I wonder why I didn't take up croquet instead, so I could sip lemonade and hang out with lawn gnomes all day long.  Croquet might have been a better option . . .

Fiskars guest-stars in this entry.
 But then there are glorious moments like this!  The joy of backpacking is that every day, no matter how few miles you go, you're still making your way to the finish line.  The only person you're racing is yourself.  Can you do a 20-mile day? What will you see?  When you wake up, you never know what the day will bring.

Sometimes the days bring snow.  Precipitation is challenging.  But even in pouring rain, the world is a beautiful place, although sometimes it's hard to remember that.  I don't look forward to encountering weather like this on the Great Eastern Trail, but when I look back on the Benton MacKaye Trail snow, I realize that these are some of my favorite memories.  Go figure.

I rest better on-trail than in "real life."
Not sleep better - rest better.
You learn to listen to your body.
You know when it's time to relax.
You become quieter inside.
I'm looking forward to that.

There is something tremendous about knowing where you are and how to get where you want to go.

But, hey, anyone wanna play croquet next summer?


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