Two weeks ago Ben and I went on a 5-day backpacking trip. You know the drill: load everything into a 35 pound backpack, walk for miles into the back-country, camp, repeat the next day.
I realize that for some (a lot?) of you, that sounds like a mini version of hell. For me, it’s peace, tranquility, freedom. There’s that moment when my body says, “Ahhhh” to the weight of the pack. (By now, that’s usually the second I put it on!) And that second moment where my legs feel like they’re unattached, swinging loose from my hips, like walking is the natural state of being.
Not following me? Think of that moment where you’re doing something you love and suddenly every fiber in your being says, “Yes! I LOVE this! Yes!”
Now about this trip…
It was unlike anything we’d ever done before. It wasn’t a backpacking trip, but a canyoneering trip. I hate giving a rote definition but here’s a great explanation:
Canyoning (known as canyoneering in the U.S.) is traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include other outdoor activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling (rappelling), and swimming.
And this trip had everything except rope-work.
But here’s what I realized, several times, actually.
I was DONE. I’d had it, I wanted out, this wasn’t fun.
That time when we were just getting to Wet Beaver Creek, through Waldroup Canyon. It was brutally hot; the rocks were huge, sharp, and hot; I was tired, the puddles to wet my hat weren’t close enough together and DAMNIT! there was yet ANOTHER scramble , this one down a side gulch using a dead Ponderosa pine tree as an over-head scramble hold.
But here’s the thing… I was halfway to Wet Beaver Creek. And the only thing I could do was go on.What do you do when you can't stop halfway? Click To Tweet
I didn’t have the luxury of being done. I couldn’t climb back out. I couldn’t stay there. If I wanted to refill my water bottle, I’d have to get to the creek. The three liters I’d brought with me were gone.
I couldn’t stay halfway.