Sunday, December 05, 2010

Forest Service Road 64 to Gennett Poplar

Pinhoti Trail
6.3 miles

I'm sitting in front of a fire, the last embers slowly burnign down. On the trail again, a different trail, but still the trail. I'm going out for the whole daggum thing, all 340 miles of it, theoretically.

It's about 22 degrees out tonight, and I am not a winter person. Shadow the dog is with me, but he doesn't like the fire, so he and his warmth stay far away. He was in his element today, racing back and froth along the trail, even with a pack that's a quarter of his body weight. A lot heavier than mine, percentage-wise.

Every time I come out into the wilderness, I realize that this life is what I always want. I always want to be this connected to the earth. Just being connected to the weather again, even bad, snowy weather, fills me with joy. Because I realize I'm capable of handling it. In my down jacket and rain gear, I'm just as comfortable as I would be at home on the couch. More comfortable. Because I'm fully living, deliberately living. Because I can watch the snow melt on my coat and it doesn't bother me.

Of course, what I always forget about in my normal life is the pain. If hiking is a metaphor for life, and life is pain, then hiking is even more concentrated pain. It's the part I forget about as soon as I'm home, warm and cozy on the couch. The pain is just beginning--a twinge in the knee or back, a second toe beginning to whimper. I forget about the pain, and the monotony. Every step, every mile, every mountain is more or less the same. After the excitement of the first couple of miles, even the cold and the pain begin to settle into a routine.

No comments: