Hey hey hey!
Last weekend, as a treat for Bryan completing the CFA exam, I decided to grace him with my presence on the hiking trail.
You see, while living in Jackson Hole, I lured Bryan into my clutches by pretending that I was somewhat of a hard-core hiking lady. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth, but months of running had given my body the aptitude to take on 10 mile + hikes and thousands of feet in elevation gain. So, I would ho-hum along the hiking trail, impressing him with my ugly-but-cool hiking pants and alleged excitement of yet 75 more switchbacks.
Since then, things have somewhat changed.
While I do enjoy the out-of-doors and the odd camping trip, the boy is mine (as Brandy and Monica might say). I no longer have to work for his affection, and thus – I let my freak flag fly.
I wear whatever I feel suits me best when I hike. Be it a sparkly VS hoodie circa 2006 or knee socks with shorts. Within the first 15 or so minutes, at least 2-4 complaints have escaped my mouth and probably another couple requests for the water bottle, granola bar, etc. I am needy. I talk too much. I get mad. But I’m also a darn good time.
Bryan and I decided to do a loop around Multanomah Falls, the largest waterfall in Oregon. We started out on a paved black-top and I must have made the comment, “Oh, I just love that this is paved!” about a million times. It was steep, but at least it wasn’t all rocky and full of tree roots.
The hike was full of twists and turns, bridges over bubbling brooks and mini waterfalls. It was DEFINITE unicorn territory.
As the pavement slowly faded into earth, so did my motivation. My muscles were tired, the muggy air made my whole body sticky and I knew we weren’t even halfway done. Bryan told me we had gained about 1,200 feet and for that, I was grateful.
Just before we reached our destination towards the top, I realized that my sentiments towards hiking, mirror the stages of grief.
1. Shock and denial – The initial shock of going uphill is never good. I’ll often ask myself, “I don’t remember signing up for this!”
2. Pain and Guilt – The pain has set in. I’m hurting and I want to stop and devour all the m&ms out of the trail mix. But I don’t. I keep going because I will feel bad if I poop out now.
3. Anger and Bargaining – Then I just get MAD. Real mad. I see Bryan easily handling the steepness and I just wanna throw my water bottle at his head. Why is he putting me through this? Then I’ll try to barter, “Hey, if you go down and get the car now, I’ll make cookies for you tonight!”.
4. Depression, Reflection, Loneliness – After the anger has subsided, I’m just sad. Why is this hike so hard for me, yet so easy for all these other people? A tear might escape my eye. Bryan is now a good 15 paces ahead of me. “He doesn’t even care”, I think.
5. The Upward Turn – This is usually when we reach the top, or whatever destination we have been going towards. I know we are now going downhill and so I smile.
6. Reconstruction and Working Through – I’ve now told Bryan that I hate this hike, I hate these trees. I’m recovering from my tantrum and as the sweat dries up, so does my anger.
7. Acceptance and Hope – I’ve done it. It is over and I am better because of it. This is where I get really chatty, lovey-dovey and want to stop for little breaks to snap pics, hold hands and breathe in the moment.
You see? It totally applies. Which brings me to my next idea, which is – hikes that ONLY go downhill. Yes please.