Every adventure I've taken my friend R on has nearly resulted in disaster. There was the blizzard we faced as we marched to the ski hut, and to top it off, our work up there included tarping an outhouse. Few would maintain cheerful spirits in the face of those obstacles. Another trip nearly resulted in horror when one of her dogs decided to slide down a waterfall. And let's not forget the drive along an exposed single lane dirt 4WD track, with expansive views of the canyon we would catapult into if one wheel left the road. Add in some cowboys with a horse trailer coming in the other way, and I can see why she would never want to go with me again.
Luckily she is resilient and agreed to come snowshoeing with me. Instead of being daunted by the conditions, she enthused about what a great workout it was as we slogged uphill from the ski area. This is extreme snowshoeing at its finest, at least for this area. No easy flat trails here! In fact, we were making our own trail, ending up at a tiny frozen lake.
Not all adventure pals have been so happy. On occasion I have looked back to see an expression of suffering cross the faces of my companions. This has made me wary of inviting people along. While I like a casual stroll as much as the next person, I tend to want to get to my destination, even if we have to inch along icy logs across a stream or plow through deep snow. I find that women aren't very good at saying when they want to turn around, or if they want the pace to be slower, or even if they want the pace to be faster. I also can feel responsible for conditions--if I drag someone into a mosquito-infested hell and I didn't know about it in advance, I feel bad. Ridiculous, I know. We are all responsible for adjusting our own attitudes.
I try a mixture of both, friends and solo, because sometimes it is easier to only worry about yourself. I can stop when I want, or I can keep going without stopping. I can turn around if I don't like the situation ahead. If mosquitoes make me run screaming, there's nobody to see the tantrum. But at the same time, it's nice to have friends to laugh through some situations. My friend and I still laugh at the muddy conditions we slogged through in 1991 on the Florida Trail. Our friend Chris is long gone, the victim of an aggressive brain tumor, but he had coined the phrase, "Mud sux!" and we still say it to each other. It's also nice to bounce things off of other people: is this really the trail? Where do you think it goes?
|This picture of Ruby digging a huge hole has nothing to do with this post. But she's adorable, so there you go.|