At around 4 AM I usually sleepily become aware that I need to turn over or pee or that it might be morning. By 5:30 or 5:45 Abby (now known as Cheshire) or I has begun stirring and shuffling: hiking clothes on. Sleeping bag packed. Tent rolled and stuffed. Then breakfast, sometimes silently, sometimes with whatever remark we can manage about the day; “it was warm last night”, “lots of climbing to do today”.
Once packs are on backs, we start walking, usually around 6:45-7:00. Then we walk all day. We take breaks mid-morning, a long one mid-day, and maybe another short one late afternoon. The terrain is varied; some days we hike up into considerably tall mountains, ones with trees and thinner air, and sometimes we hike deep into the heat of the sandy desert floor. My point is, we spend most of every day doing the same thing. With the same person. On the same schedule.
So why is it that some days feel so different than others? Why can I wake up to a grumpy morning? Why can I appreciate everything one day, and resent it the next? There is an internal climate in both of us that is fairly independent of external factors. We are slowly becoming more sensitive to its nuances and tendencies. So then I wonder, how much should I try to get a grip on myself, and how much should I let moods run their course? Some mornings it is all I can do to shake a bad dream, or the intimidation a log day poses. So far, I have decided that the more I experience this discomfort, the less I will feel it in the future. Much of it has to do with being with doubt, which is a pretty big thing to sit with – especially before breakfast. We are also learning how to work off each other – how to ask for alone time, how to provoke cheer (singing, anyone?!), and how to avoid unnecessary heart wrenching doubt (brig extra water, tape a blister, walk slower etc.).
Highlights in pictures: