Meeting the Challenges of the Day

I woke this morning feeling sore and achy after yesterday’s adventure, and I considered staying in bed. No one but me would know I was being lazy, but I got up anyway. First challenge of the day met!! Yay!

I also considered taking a zero day (hiker parlance for a day without accumulating miles), but after puttering around for a bit and getting my muscles working, and after adjusting the pack again (since I have a hard time adjusting the shoulder straps when it’s on), I decided what the heck, just go. Second challenge of the day met!

Except it wasn’t that easy. The cold wind hurt my ears, so I came back for my earwarmers. Headed out again, walked a ways, and then realized I’d never make it with the cold blowing down the back of my neck. So I came back for a scarf. Headed out again. Left shoe came untied. Bent down to tie it. A real challenge with twenty-plus pounds on my back. Then the right shoe came untied. Then the right shoe. Sheesh. But I met all those challenges.


Finally, I got to the desert, made my loop and headed back. When I got to a crossroads where I could take my usual route down to a sidewalk and ending with an uphill trudge or I could take a slightly shorter route back without battling that final hill. I stood there for what seemed like minutes but I’m sure was only seconds, unable to decide. (My brother recently told me he worried about me because I seemed to have a hard time making decisions. Ya think?) I eventually took the usual, slightly harder route because this is supposed to be a challenge, right? Well, challenge met.

I had to stop a couple of times on that last uphill leg, but I made it. (Well, obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.)

And these were just the challenges of this day.

I thought all these challenging faux backpacking trips on the weekends would have made a difference by now, but I don’t seem any stronger, have no more stamina or endurance, don’t weigh any less. I mean, I’ve been doing this for months now, haven’t I?

Uh, no. Although it does feel that way, it’s been merely four weeks. Still, I would have thought there would have been some sign that I’m getting more conditioned to backpacking, but so far, I don’t see a change, and did I expect some change. If nothing else, I thought I would feel lighter after taking off the pack, that hiking with the extra weight would make the rest of my life a bit easier, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. I still lumber more than bounce when I walk, still struggle to get things done.

But then, the challenge is in the doing, and I am doing these weekends of backpacking practice. In fact, these weekend backpacking challenges are beginning to seem an end in themselves. Who knows — maybe by the time I’m in condition for a real backpacking trip, I’ll feel as if I’ve already accomplished what I want to accomplish.

Whatever that is.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

2 Responses to “Meeting the Challenges of the Day”

  1. Constance Says:

    You will meet your challenge, no matter what it is.

  2. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    A glutton for punishment Pat, I get worn out just reading about your hiking.Have you no mercy or are you a sadist as well as a masochist? 😛

Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: