Sunday, October 6, 2013

Destination Fixation

It was October 2nd, but unseasonable storms had raked the mountains, dropping a buttload of snow. Bonny Lakes looked more like December as I slogged up to their shores in my snowshoes at a blistering 1.5 miles an hour.

Really? This is October?
I had been suffering from convenient snow amnesia when I thought I could make it to my destination, Dollar Lake, and back by four. In summer I can make it to Bonny Lakes, four miles or so, in an hour and a half, and up and over the pass to Dollar in another hour. Twelve miles in snowshoes was not going to happen today.

I stood dolefully below the pass, knowing that the prudent course of action was to turn around. It might shock you to know that I actually did.

This fall winter has also come early to the North Cascades. Three PCT thru-hikers in two separate incidents had to be pulled out of the wilderness by Coast Guard helicopter. Another finally hiked out to safety on her own after holing up in her tent for seven days. Even as this was all happening other hikers headed out into the snow, determined to make it to Canada.

It's a hard thing to shake, this destination fixation. It's hard to let go of an idea or a dream. I know this much: wilderness has a bite.

I stomped back down the trail to discover two hikers with a baby. They were wearing tennis shoes. They had turned around because they didn't have sunglasses for the baby (is that a thing? I'm pretty sure I survived without them as a baby). Our reasons are all different for not reaching our destination. Some of us are much more graceful about it than others.

On the other hand, a little destination fixation can be a good thing. It's the spur to keep you moving when you get tired, or lazy. The trick lies in knowing that balance.

Still, Bonny Lakes, frozen with a light skim of ice, was good enough for today. I'm chipping away at my destination fixation a little bit at a time.
7,800 feet. Frozen Lake.

1 comment:

  1. I am really familiar with the destination fixation. In the last 13 years I have over 600 climbs/hikes mostly to highpoints. One with you Mary, Mt. Thielsen. But now at 61 and getting a few old age problems, I must slow down on my ambition, though I am happy with what I've done. Hopefully, you have a few good years in you Mary!


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