|Trail off of the Appalachian Trail. Credit: ChinMusic's trail journal on trail journals.com|
I've kind of felt like I belong on the Chunky Gal trail lately. Too much work, not enough time outside. It all builds up to becoming a Cranky McCrankerson. A lunch time run or an hour in the gym just doesn't cut it. So when the Freak of Nature was up for a hike of epic proportions, I agreed. When you haven't done anything long in a while, you start to doubt your fitness and ability. My long hike is coming up in three months, and a few runs wouldn't do it. You need time on your feet. Hours of time on your feet, with a pack.
Choices were slim. Snow was still falling in the mountains. It would be the lowlands again, this time to complete the loop, the distance of which we had no idea. I forgot the GPS, which in retrospect might have been a good decision. It's freeing to not know exactly where you are, how high you have climbed, and how far you have gone. At least I think so.
|Up on Starvation Ridge. We certainly weren't starving. This time, I brought plenty of food.|
|Dropping in, committed to the day.|
|This log crossing was a little sketch.|
|Lovely little springtime creeks.|
|Canyon topography to keep things interesting.|
That's the thing about all day endeavors, whether it's running or hiking or climbing. Sooner or later you have to face yourself in the silence between conversations. It can be the most honest time there is.
We slogged up the final slope to the car, having covered fifteen or eighteen or fourteen miles and climbed either three thousand or two thousand or five thousand feet. It didn't matter. I get that it matters to some people. It used to matter to me. Now I measure my outings in different, more ephemeral ways.
This week it's back to wrestling the same alligators, in which I try to bridge the gap between the life I want and the one I have. It's not a big gap; it could require only a small leap of faith. With enough long hikes, I will figure out how to get there.