Enjoying the climb

23 Aug

Looking into the abyss

It seems like I always conclude a season of hunting with introspection and thoughts of how I could have done better…followed up by oaths sworn to prepare better and train harder for “next year”. And time, with it’s ever exasperating way, reminds us that “hey, your time has come!”….and before we know it…yes, you guessed it…there is no more time left to be had. And as our years progress, time has an even more infuriating way of speeding things up  faster, still. “Life” takes a hold and ratchets it’s self in and plans that we’ve made, would like to make…or have ever thought of making, seem to never fall into place as they should. This is the story of my life!

Last season really took it’s toll on me. On top of the usual daily challenges that drag us down…I managed to let sponsorship and industry obligations put an enormous amount of pressure on me, to “succeed” in the field. And in the interim; was sucked dry of every last vestige of joy I might have had. At some point, maybe too late, I realized that I was doing things for the wrong reasons and not having any fun while doing it.  Another oath was made at that time, and I have been determined every since, to not put any undue pressure on myself and to remember to “just have fun!”

The climb

One of my continuous struggles, is with a body that just has always never seemed to work “right”. There has been periods in the past, mainly in my late teens and early twenties, where things seemed to work like they are supposed to and I was able to maintain a very high level of fitness. But over the last six years or so…I seem to have longer periods of time feeling like trash, then feeling well. This of course derails my training routine and often puts a damper on any other activities that I’d normally be involved in doing…like enjoying the beautiful place that I live in. So of course, the routine that I fell into, back when snow was still on the ground, and had been doing so well with…got interrupted and I missed at least two solid month’s worth of training during this summer. This really hurt.  A couple of weeks ago, I was starting to question if the opening weekend bivy hunt that I’ve been so excited for all year long…would even be something that I was physically capable of.

Me being of the stubborn and “let me see for myself” type…trial by fire is often my method of choice. I figured that I would pour over a topo map of the area and see if there was any easier routes up, onto the ridge system that I planned to hunt. The side of the mountain that I climbed last season, had the brunt of elevation gain all within a very short distance. With the heat last year and the 50# pack that I was hauling…that route was just about the death of me…and I was in much better shape! As it turned out, I found a route that was longer, but spread out the elevation gain over a much farther distance. I now had hope. The Saturday that I chose to tackle the climb, was cool, dreary and wet…a stark contrast to last year’s conditions.

High country rainbow

So, I set out by just putting one foot in front of the other and before I knew it…I was standing at the site of last year’s camp! I instantly felt like a small victory had been won. And in essence, it had! I then  knew that I wasn’t giving myself enough credit and the adventure that I had been craving, ever since the conclusion of the year’s previous hunt …wasn’t that far off and once again was back on the table.

Even if it kills me….

Danner Gila boots


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