Sunday, June 12, 2016

It's not where it begins or ends, it's the stuff in between that matters...

I've been struggling a little bit lately in my own head to figure out what kind of person I want to be.  I like a lot of things.  I like running.  I like hiking.  I like kayaking, biking and geocaching.  I like doing these things alone, or with friends or family.  I like gardening, I like reading, I like video games.  I have this secret ambition to learn to paint and draw.  I also do landscape photography and like to digitally edit and enhance them.

I also work, and clean and take care of typical house things.

So when I decide to attempt to hike 100 miles over 50 hours, a lot of things fall away.  There's nothing but the trees and sky and rocks and dirt, and you walk and walk and walk, and if you're with people you bond and chat and laugh and get silly.  There are periods of quiet companionship, and there are conversations about life, and there are made up songs.  There are slight times of frustration and home-sickness, of missing a red-headed boy, or fuzzy dogs, or a warm form in a comfy bed next to you.

But mostly there's that tunnel of trail that just pulls you along, and you know that if you want to get this accomplishment done, you have to just go.

So I didn't take any pictures.   I didn't stop to move snakes or salamanders.  I didn't dip my feet in the stream.  I didn't run my fingers along the giant rocks.

I had a great time.  I pushed myself and found that my body is very resilient, but that blisters are pretty much a game-ender for me.  I had no stomach issues, very few muscle issues, and fatigue came and went.  We started at 5:30 Friday evening, walked until about 5:30 Saturday morning, slept for an hour and a half, got up and walked until 2:30, where I decided I wanted to stop before the blisters on my feet got any worse.

I like the A100 a lot.  I hiked with and met some amazing people this weekend, not to mention getting to spend time with some of my very best friends.  There's a balance that I'm finding when I go out onto the trail and into the woods though.  If I'm going to hike, I want to go slower.  Wander off trail and flip rocks and take pictures of flowers or mushrooms or bugs.  Catch frogs, find ruins.  If I want to run, then I'll keep moving.  I'll still stop to take pictures, or to look at things.

I'm a terrible fast hiker.  I'm a really really good slow runner.

And I'm very glad I learn something new about myself and my world every time I go out into the woods.