Tuesday, April 9, 2013

XtraTuf

In Alaska, my life was bounded by water. Stuck on an island surrounded by miles of sea, water of some sort was a constant. Tide, rain, river. It rained so much that rain ceased to be a topic of conversation. It just was, an accompaniment to the hours. It was unremarkable. You could see it in newcomers, the way they swathed themselves in waterproof jackets and pants for running, the umbrellas they carried. The longer all of us lived there, the less rain gear we wore. We kept our boot dryers in the living room. We were mildly panicked and energized by the rare appearance of sun. We thought, secretly, that we were tough.

Four years out from the rain forest, I found myself whining when one of my friends asked me if I wanted to hike. "It's supposed to rain," I bitched. Then I paused. Had I become a fair weather adventurer? Had I somehow lost my toughness?

True to form, I decided I wouldn't give in. Despite the gloomy forecast, I prepared to charge up the Hurricane Creek trail. I couldn't become one of those people who sits inside if the weather isn't great! Could I? No. Off I went.

The meadow was lovely and wild.

The waterfall is tiny; there must still be ice above. In summer we sit up there in the pools. Not for awhile!

Looking up canyon  to the wilderness beyond
Sheets of ragged clouds swept over the mountains. Curtains of rain and snow moved in and out in a slow dance. I crawled under trees swept down from big winds. This is a trail I have run and hiked countless times. It never ceases to amaze me.

The rain brought memories, both bitter and sweet. Do you ever outrun your past? I don't think so.

On the way back I ran into four other hikers, the only others out there. They had waited out the rain; a weak sun struggled to appear. They had, I thought, missed out.

ps. Hey Bloggy Peeps! I love reading hiking/adventure blogs. Do you have one? Post it in the comments. Other people will see it and read also! You are welcome. It's good to have readers out there.

9 comments:

  1. Here's my blog: www.photomomlinda.blogspot.com.

    I'm mostly posting skiing stuff but will be switching to hiking stories and photos very soon.

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  2. Enjoying the great photos :) I'm an exchange student in the Alps in France, and I have a blog about all of my mountain-related adventures! http://wildbazilchuk.blogspot.fr/

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  3. I don't think we ever outrun our past, but that is a good thing. It is those moments that make us the person we are now.

    My blog is mostly road running at the moment, but trail season starts soon and I'm backpacking the Lost Coast of California next week. :) Here's the link: http://ariavie.blogspot.com

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  4. I so relate to this post. California has ruined me for wet weather toughness. I used to ride ride bikes in the rain. When it was 38 degrees. The concept is almost unfathomable to me now. Being tough is like being in shape ... it's so hard to gain and so easy to lose.

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  5. I don't really think it's toughness if you just don't have a choice. If your option is to stay inside or go in crappy weather, that's one thing. If the weather is normally pretty good, it seems reasonable to take a rest day on a crappy weather day if you don't feel like going out. Just a counterpoint :p

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  6. Not exactly a blog 'cause she doesn't "do" internet from her trails, but this is a good one. endeofthetrail.com. Includes as short video from Today show coverage. Bernice Ende started horsepacking when she retired a few years ago, has traveled 18,000 miles, camps out almost always. You can almost see in her eyes the far ranges she has seen!

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  7. http://www.cookhimes.us/dennis/traillog/traillog.htm

    It's not a blog, but it's a record of my hikes, together with links to my picture galleries and trip reports (on hiking fora). Unfortunately, Rocks on Top trip reports before Feb. 2011 are dead links, but all of the pic galleries, all of the ADKHP trip reports, and all of the RoT TRs since then are good.

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  8. Oh, Mary, this made me so homesick for Seward and the 75-inches of yearly rain.
    Once while running in 50-degree hard rain and wearing shorts and a tank top, I passed a man (obviously a tourist) wearing nylon rain pants, a heavy rain jacket and gloves. I was horrified. It seemed obscene to wear so much just because of the rain.
    Since moving back to Anchorage, though, I've become a total wimp.
    I still run in the rain but I overdress and litter the trail with my cast-offs.
    Funny how quickly we adapt to our environments.
    Cheers and happy hiking.

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