Monday, December 1, 2014

44. 100 Degrees

Have you ever gone on a walk, one single walk, that started like this:

And ended like this?

ONE WALK. Just one!

That's a hell of a walk.

There was a day in the Smokies where the Wind Chill was THREE degrees, and there was a day in New Jersey where the Heat Index was ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR degrees. Just in case my capital letters were too startling for you, I will spell this out in a different way: In the span of one walk, I experienced a span of 101 degrees. Now it makes more sense how I got hypothermia, frost bite AND heat stroke! I just like to make sure that I get to experience the full extent of my adventures, you know, by putting myself in all the types of perilous weather situations.

My favorite moment of being in freezing cold while pretending to be in warmth:
Sitting in a shelter in while a blizzard raged outside, using my spork to eat a bowl of fresh snow mixed with powdered lemonade. It hurt so good.

My favorite moment of warmth while pretending to be in freezing cold:
Sweating buckets in my 23 degree sleeping bag during an 80 degree night, because I was simply too exhausted to unzip the sleeping bag.

If you hike for long enough, the seasons change around you. Sometimes hiking feels like being on one of those treadmills on an old movie set, where the scenery is on a loop of canvas behind you. The trail looks the same beneath your feet, but the world rolls past. Sometimes the set designer dumps a bunch of snow on you, then buckets of water, then points a heat gun at you until you feel like you're melting, and then dumps more buckets of water.

But you get to experience the full breadth of the untamed environment, its highs, its lows and its middles. And you get to know life's one true constant. Not death, not taxes. Sweat. No matter the temperature, no matter the day or the environment, you will always sweat. Three degrees or one hundred and four degrees, your body finds a way to make you soaking wet.

Clever Girl

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