What If?

March 1, 2015

Mel at our favorite coffee shop.

Mel at our favorite coffee shop.

While we were at our favorite coffee shop today talking with one of our coffee shop friends, a new question about our hike popped up that we had not fielded before, but certainly  had considered. We were asked, “What if one of you was injured and had to leave the trail, would the other one continue hiking?”  Part of our answer depended upon how serious the injury was. Given a relatively benign injury happening to me, there is no question that Mel would finish the hike on his own. After all, it was his hike in the first place. I only considered my participation later in the game.

If Mel were injured and had to go home, the answer for me, wasn’t quite as simple. A lot would depend on how far along we were on the trail and how confident I felt about going it alone. The deciding factors have to do with our reasons for hiking the trail in the first place: Mel was going on this hike for an adventure, to do something different, to get away. My reasons for going have more to do with my wanting to be with him (instead of staying at home while he was gone for 6 months).  The joy for me will be in hiking together, so I’m not quite sure that I would be sufficiently motivated to continue alone–but I really, really hope we aren’t faced with that decision.

March 5, 2015

I went for a walk today with my pack on–the first time it’s been back on since we went on our short hiking trip last Fall in Manistee, Michigan. It felt comfortable, but I had difficulty adjusting the straps on my left side because of an injury I sustained to my left shoulder in December–the one I’ve been receiving  physical therapy for. I may have to use my right hand to make some of the adjustments because my left arm is just not twisting up and backwards very well!

Walking in Michigan in winter!

Walking in Michigan in winter!

It was frigid and windy outside today and I kept thinking of all the hikers who are already out on the trail and how glad I am to not be one of them. It is really, really cold and snowy along the trail right now and it sounds like it’s not only arduous to walk through the deep snow, but difficult to stay warm enough at night. One of the hardest things about hiking in the cold, I think, is getting sweaty hot while you are moving, but then freezing cold when you stop. You are sweaty wet inside your layers of clothing and  get cold fast when you stop moving. It’s not easy to stay warm unless you keep moving, but if you keep moving, you keep getting sweaty–a vicious cycle for sure.

March 6, 2015

The itty bitty flashlight that was too heavy!!

The itty bitty flashlight that was too heavy!!

Today, I was looking at my itty bitty flashlight that I wear when I go walking on dark, dark mornings. I thought it might be handy to clip on my backpack in case we’re hiking in the dark. (I had forgotten that we already had lightweight headlamps.) When I asked Mel about taking my itty bitty flashlight, he said, “Too heavy.” So I weighed it. It was only eight tenths of an ounce. Jeesh! (But, we are trying to go as lightweight as possible and I really only need one flashlight!)

I was also thinking about the weather today. It was only 1 freezin’ degree this morning when I went  for a walk! One degree!! So I thought, winter is a lot like long distance hiking. It’s difficult to endure and it  goes on and on and on forever, but when spring finally does come, it’s oh so very, very delicious. Our senses are flooded with all the smells and sounds and warmth that spring weather brings. It is such a wonderful feeling– almost indescribable.  I think if  one lives in a more temperate climate, and never experiences this drastic change in weather, they would find it impossible to appreciate the joys of spring with such fervor. So, it’s kind of like hiking –the harder the journey, the more coveted the rewards. Right?

March 7, 2015

Today was a hike planning day. First, we  went out shopping with two particular chores in mind: One–to find me  my forever bra (6 months of constant wear is forever in the life of a bra),  and two–find a  lightweight, long sleeved, fleece top. (I wanted to have another layer because I get cold easily and there’s been so much snow on the trail this winter!)

After all the shopping was done, we decided put on our packs and go for a walk (Well, I put on my pack, Mel’s wasn’t stuffed yet.) First I put on my brand new, never-been-worn, long sleeved, lightweight purple hiking shirt, and my brand new, never-been-worn, just-bought grey fleece ‘sweater’. I topped this all off with my paper thin wind jacket. OMG!! Once we started walking, I thought I would die of heatstroke!  The temperature had changed so drastically in less than 24 hours! Yesterday morning it was barely zero degrees and  today it was almost 50! How can that be?? It’s been so cold here for so long that I forgot what ‘warm’ weather felt like! I had to peel off layers or wallow in a puddle of my own sweat.

Hot sweaty clothes aside, it was a lovely walk. Some of the spring birds were back –chirping away with heartfelt gusto! What a wonderful sound!  There’s  a glimmer of hope in the air for warmer days ahead and it will be hard to wait another 5 weeks for departure! Hopefully, the weather along the trail will be toasty warm and devoid of snow by the time we arrive in the middle of April.

Mel sewing up bags for our tent and sleeping mats.

Mel sewing up bags for our tent and sleeping mats.

When we got home from our backpack walk, Mel went upstairs to continue sewing bags out of lightweight Silnylon–bags for the tent and bags for our sleeping mats. He’s already made bags out of Cuben fiber for our clothes. So, thanks to Mel’s creative talents, we should be in good shape by the time we leave–with lightweight everything all stitched and sewn and ready to go!

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Comments 2

  • Nancy Camden : Mar 9th

    The mental journey has already begun.

    • Jeanne Church : Mar 9th

      Yep. I’ve been thinking about how hard it will be to leave the dogs and how hard it will be to be gone for 6 months! I’ve been reading other blogs–by people much, much younger than me–and how difficult it is for them to keep going sometimes. Lots to think about!


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