Climbing Mount Everest

I bet you guessed I didn’t really climb Mount Everest today, but it sure felt like it. Dance class was cancelled, so I strapped on my backpack and headed out to the desert despite the strong wind alert. The alert was right — those were very strong winds. Very cold strong winds. But I persevered. If I were on a real backpacking trip, I would have to deal with whatever weather comes my way, and today it was the wind that came.

Once I got to the desert, I did my usual loop, which takes me up a hill and back down and around, and the winds made that hill feel like a very steep mountain. I had to stop several times to catch my breath on the way up, but by the time I crested the hill and felt the full force of those winds, I was sure I’d done something as magnificent as climbing Mount Everest.

Oddly, although sometimes I feel very foolish for thinking about a long trek in the wilderness —after all, I am in no way athletic or outdoorsy — these preparatory hikes never feel foolish. They just are.

And anyway, what is wrong with foolish thinking? The more I contemplate a backpacking trip, the more reasonable it seems. Women’s hips are built for carrying weight. Women’s bodies (mine anyway) are built for storing up fat to prepare for extraordinary times. Odd to think that despite this, men hikers seem to outnumber women.

Although I have a few things going for me (woman’s physiology, determination, desire), my level of unfitness might be against me, but then, that’s what all this tramping around with a backpack is for. Either I will be better prepared to attempt a long hike, or I will have abandoned the whole idea long before I have to hike up a hill even steeper than the one I faced today.

***

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.

8 Responses to “Climbing Mount Everest”

  1. Carol Says:

    Walking is excellent exercise. Whether or not you undertake a big hike, your preparations will make you more fit, and that in itself is a benefit worth pursuing. 🙂

  2. Terry Allard Says:

    Today I read in a grief book how people can pity a person in grief rather than understand them. It got me to thinking about self-pity vs making space inside oneself for necessary saddness….what even is the difference?
    Self-pity seems to be an absence of gratitude for what one still does have and if taken to an extreme makes oneself a sort of Zombie (walking dead).As I have read your blogs (old and current) you do not seem to dwell in self- pity when unapologetically you express your saddness. If your whole trip does not happen I won’t pity you and will understand whatever does happen is a mixture of sad,happy,proud,relief…and so on. Does that get it “right”?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes!!! You got it right. I tried not to pity myself, and if the backpacking trip never happens, I won’t pity myself then, either. I really hated pity. One woman kept telling me she bled for me after Jeff’s death. Huh? It was my grief! Her bleeding for me did not help at all. I like your definition of self-pity since it does leave room for sadness. And I so appreciate your not pitying me! (Actually, I don’t pity you either. I understand you are dealing with something that brings pain and is very hard to process, but it belongs to you. Not me.)

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    But the wind at your back on the way home should have evened everything out.

  4. Holly Asher Says:

    No matter what …you were spontaneous and willing to just be whatever. Wow! Thanks for sharing your journey.


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