People tell me I’m crazy. In talking about my trips with others, I hear things like:
- You woke up at what time?
- Your pack was how heavy?
- You drove how many hours to get there?
- Are you and (insert hiking partner’s name here) still friends? I bet (s)he won’t hike with you again.
- Wait, you’re planning another trip after what you just put yourself through last weekend?
Standing on the summit of White Mountain Peak, while thinking about what I had put myself through the over previous 24 hours was one of those times.
Sunset a few hours before the hike began. All photos: hikinggeek.com
The night before leaving for our hike, I was up until 3 AM packing. I slept just four hours, finished packing upon waking, then spent six hours in the car to get to the trailhead. After rushing to set up camp and eat dinner before sundown, my hiking partner and I slept four hours.
We were on the trail by 12:15 AM. Standing on the summit, it was 5:00 AM. We misjudged how long it would take us to reach the peak and as a result, had an hour to wait before the sun would rise. It was 31-degrees and wind was gusting to nearly 30 mph.
Freezing on the summit and wearing every piece of clothing he brought.
A few minutes before sunrise.
Thinking about the rest of our day, I figured we’d have four more hours of hiking after the sun rose, then another six-plus hours in the car. All told, our trip would involve twelve-plus hours driving and less than ten hours on the trail. I also knew it would take 2-3 days for my body to recover from the lack of sleep.
I asked, “WHY do I do this to myself?” Then the sun rose.
At 14,252,’ White Mountain Peak casts a long shadow.
On my descent, I started to plan my next trip.
So yeah, maybe I am a little crazy.
“It is so much a part of our lives. Sometimes it seems it is all we live and breathe. From the days (sometimes weeks) leading up to the hike, the planning the preparing, the build up, the hike itself, to the end when you're home, clean and showered and comfortable in your bed and even though you're sore as hell and so so tired, you're already wondering what you'll do next. These mountains are in our blood. They inspire us to continue to push ourselves and push each other. Every single time we are out there, without fail, we learn something about ourselves and about the people we hike with and we are the better for it. Hiking has given us a gift beyond measure.” Tam @ourmillionmiles