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SkiZer
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PostThu Sep 03, 2020 9:31 am 
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I recently went on a 50-mile solo backpack through the North Cascades, done over four days. It was difficult and I struggled with each long day on the trail. My pack punched holes in my back, I got several blisters, and the isolation left me talking to myself day and night. By the time I finished, I was physically and mentally exhausted, and I practically wept for joy when I got to the car.
Days later, I noticed a change in my attitude: All that suffering was forgotten, and I was remembering the trip as a huge accomplishment -- one that had actually given me a new understanding of who I was and what I was capable of doing. I was ready to get back out there and do it again.
So ... I'm curious what other people think. When the trip is over, why do we forget the pain and remember the glory? Why do we need these difficult trips to push us into a place where we find something special inside ourselves?
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Sep 03, 2020 10:03 am 
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up.gif

I've gotten into trouble redoing an old trip because all I remembered were the good times.  There are people who hate me over "I don't remember it being hard at all."   wink.gif
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Slugman
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PostThu Sep 03, 2020 10:20 am 
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Selective amnesia is a critical attribute.

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ďThe jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mindĒ  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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coldrain108
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PostThu Sep 03, 2020 10:21 am 
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Its not hidden. 

I did a similar mileage and duration trip last year in the Olympics...involved a 13 mile portion of bike-packing as well.   My pack and boots are my friends so they didn't hurt me.  But the solitude (I went off trail for 1/2 the adventure) was soul refreshing.  The strenuous exercise had that "I've still got it" confirmation.  The scenery still fills my mind's eye.  The exhaustion and leg cramps were easily overcome.

Most hikers do this sport in spite of plantar fascia issues, knee issues, shoulder issues, hip troubles, age, hammer toes etc.  The pain is not viewed as a reason to stop.  It is just an electrical signal that can be rerouted with a little bit of determination...if there is no underlying injury causing the pain.  If you know the "check engine" light is just the O2 sensor you can keep driving, same with minor pain and suffering.  I call it the litany of pain.  My ankle hurts, now my knee hurts more so I forget about the ankle, now my shoulder hurts more than the knee, now my lower back hurts more than....etc etc etc.

I had to run the last 5 miles of a trip in the North Cascades(with a full backpack) because the flies were so bad.  I've had to stand out in the middle of a lake in WY because the flies were so bad.  My wife had to hike 12 miles with a badly water scalded foot.  I had to hike out 9 miles once with nasty feverish food poisoning.  There are so many "bad"events but none are such as to keep me out of the woods.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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seattlenativemike
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PostThu Sep 03, 2020 3:06 pm 
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coldrain108 wrote:
The strenuous exercise had that "I've still got it" confirmation.†

Exactly

That's the Enchantments for me each time I go up.  Bleeding feet, barely able to walk, knees on fire.  Two weeks later I want to go again...
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dirtbaguette
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PostFri Sep 04, 2020 1:36 pm 
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I feel this way often! Especially when on uphill slogs. I was ready to just sit down and become one with the mountain multiple times while climbing Adams last year and then contending with the Camp Muir hike in a whiteout over this summer. In those moments I told my climbing partner on multiple occasions that coming there was a mistake and how much I really hated everything (including myself) in that moment. But as soon as I got off each of those mountains, that resentment faded away and I was proud of myself for pushing through and doing something pretty awesome. I felt strong and capable and thankful for the learning experience that each challenge presented. True type 2 fun.
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RumiDude
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PostSat Sep 05, 2020 9:04 am 
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I am not sure what the mystery is because this is true in every aspect of our lives. Acquiring new skills or achieving a coveted goal are examples of things we sacrifice comfort and ease to accomplish. Even coming short is a source of deep pleasure and satisfaction if we put a great effort into it. Self-esteem is a pretty basic human need.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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RatherBOutdoors
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PostSun Sep 06, 2020 5:01 pm 
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Like many, I have everyday aches and pains just hanging around the house, but they all seem to disappear when I'm out hiking or backpacking.  Sure, they're replaced by other aches and pains, but I know those are just temporary.

It may not be much of a stretch for some, but one of my toughest hikes last year included a middle day with 17+ miles and 7000' of gain. There was one section that included 1000' of gain in under a mile exposed rocks and bright, hot, sunshine. I was ready for it to end. Still, by the time I got to camp, I felt like I likely had a few miles left in the legs (probably not many more feet, though).

I think some of it is the sense of accomplishment, the beauty, the peace, etc. triumph over the temporary discomforts.  Also, the pleasure are something to cherish, whereas the pains are something we actively want to forget.
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lemArts
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PostMon Sep 07, 2020 5:43 pm 
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https://www.rei.com/blog/climb/fun-scale

Type II fun.

My buddy and I have a saying sometimes when we are in a bad place.  "This totally sucks now but will make a great story later!"

We did Section K this summer.  A month ago we hiked up the N Sauk to connect to the PCT between Red and White Passes and went south to Stevens.

Then this past week we went south from Rainy to the N Sauk to complete the section (with a side trip to Image Lake and the Miners Ridge Lookout).

After ~106 miles my right leg is battered, bruised, swollen, and pained.  But I swear it didn't really start hurting until after I was off the trail.  And I couldn't care less.  I won't hike for a few weeks.  But it will heal.  I feel amazing.  Our longest day this past week was 19.3 miles.  Our biggest vert day was almost 6200 ft up.  I didn't love every minute of it.  I hated being drenched in rain and wet overgrowth as I descended towards Milk Creek on one of the worst stretches of trail I've seen.  I didn't like tripping over an unseen boulder and failing in the mud.  But still, by the time I got to Mica Lake that afternoon all of the clouds and rain were gone.  It was beautiful and warm and sunny.  I laid my gear out to dry, stripped off my wet clothes, and went for a swim at one of the prettiest places I've camped.  Magical.

Another story - Many years ago we got caught in a terrible monsoon of a storm in the Chilliwack River valley that knocked out power to most of western Washington.  A terrible, cold, brutally tiring day on the trail where we were in pretty good danger of summertime hypothermia.  Walked nearly 16 miles in that back to the car, arriving cold, wet, muddy, sore, and exhausted.  But it sure makes a great story to tell today!  And I felt like a boss for making it through.  Though my wife was sure I was dead.

I need these trips because I want to feel alive.  And only out there, with no one to help me, and no choice but to continue, do I really feel that way.  And I need to see the sites and smell the smells and hear the sounds and feel the pain.  Looking at pictures, reading reports, and watching YouTube is nice, but it's no substitute for the real thing.  During my normal day I sit and sit and sit.  Pre-COVID I at least walked from meeting to meeting, but now I just sit at home going from one conference call to the next.  I like my work well enough, and it pays the bills, but it isn't living.

The trail calls, and I must answer.
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hikermike
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PostMon Sep 07, 2020 11:01 pm 
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Jim Whitaker was once asked something like "what was the best moment you had when you first climbed Mt Everest" and he replied " 3 weeks later when I got my pictures back and I thought I was on top of that!"
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hikermike
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PostMon Sep 07, 2020 11:24 pm 
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My wife and I don't see eye to eye Re: hiking  and before a trip she gave me some homework to think about over the weekend.  That evening I found myself alone at Lake Ann and while trying to practice the shuffle (only when I think I'm alone as I'm in my 70's) while prancing across the rocks collecting water I found myself actively saying NO.  I'd always viewed hiking as a ways of "clearing the pipes" but not really articulating it and this winter while reading an ebook either about the pct or El Camino (I can't remember which... I'm  what they call a Covid  Long Hauler so missed the whole season and may miss next season too so I'm much of an
armchair dreamer.) anyway someone articulated it perfectly and I failed to bookmark it.  Essentially it's about living in the here and now.  Tomorrow doesn't matter.  Yesterday isn't even a memory and hasn't a thing to do with today. Today is getting up and moving on.  All that counts is breaking camp, feeding yourself, walking and finding a place to be and setting up a camp tonite and enjoying it.  See the stars, feel the wind, look at the bugs the trees the flowers,  feel the cold of the water.  Experience the earth.  Live today.  Then say...I lived today.  I'll see about tomorrow, tomorrow.
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timberghost
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 5:41 am 
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We don't forget about it people just like to brag about their efforts with over blown miles, elevation gains, photoshopped pictures, selfies, and opening up hidden gems to all.
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texasbb
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 8:18 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
Self-esteem is a pretty basic human need.

I agree, but it goes deeper than that I think.  The ability to delay gratification is vital in many aspects of life, but sorely lacking in our instantaneous world.  Where better to practice it than out hiking?
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drm
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 3:33 pm 
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I don't think we completely forget the pain, but it becomes a badge of honor when you aren't actually feeling it. Feeling it and remembering it are very different.
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pula58
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 12:13 pm 
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Things that come easy, with no effort, bring less meaning.
The hard trips, the ones where I am scared, and tired are the very trips that give the most fulfillment in the end. IS is not just wrt hiking and climbing, it's that way with everything. The effortless life is the meaningless life.
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