Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Exploring the Psyche

It was our one day off from a week of 200 miles course marking & naturally we decided to do a 15mi run, sans bulky, heavy packs, course marking gear & chaffing/bruising that builds up over the course of a week of marking while carrying a loaded hiking pack & running/hiking hundreds of miles. Running up a trail w/ a light pack was rest enough for us. Our bodies had become accustomed to working hard day after day: a routine of rising early, marking all day, making dinner & repacking our bulky bags for the next days sections: Hammer? Stapler? Signs? Water, snacks, jacket? Check. Today would be different.

I chose Angry Mountain because it was close by our camp, I still had a full day of computer work to do & I’d never been on those trails. Everyone in the group joined and we started up the trail, it was defined and easy to follow for several miles, zig zagging mostly straight up the mountain. Until it wasn’t. Four miles in the trail became a maze of downed trees and we had to watch very carefully to tell where it switch backed up the mountain. There are signs to follow, but you have to pay careful attention. Snapped branches, a sliver of trail under the trunk of a tree ... after a few miles of this jungle I was ready to call it a day.

Looking at my Gaia app I could see the peak of the mountain so damn close. “Hey guys!” A group of 4 gathering around, “Let’s cut over here & summit Angry Mountain. It’s only about it 1/4 mile off trail.” Considering we weren’t really on a trail anyway, it seemed safe enough. There were no dissenting opinions. Everyone wanted to pop out of the trees and see the view, if any. Hopping, crunching, parting branches we moved straight up into a meadow with rocky outcroppings.

A view of endless mountains. The breeze massaged my bare arms, goosebumps forming not because it was cold, but from the expansiveness, it hit me and I felt indivisible, interconnected to the mountains all around me. I wasn’t a runner moving up the mountain, but rather I was a part of the mountain moving up itself. My steps, my running, exploring the world, but also my psyche. The distinction was electrifying and brought up a powerful reverence.

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