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Walk #356: Have Backpack, Will Travel...

Posted Dec 21 2009 12:00am

In my favorite Ed Abbey essay, "A Walk in the Desert Hills", which is about a solo 110 mile hike through the desert in Arizona not knowing if there would be water along the way, Ed Abbey writes:

"Why do I do this sort of thing? I don't know. I've been doing this sort of thing for thirty-five years and still don't know why. It's not logical--it's pathological...."

I can relate.

I'm always looking to attempt the impossible. Build an addition out of straw and mud in two months? No problem. Survive the Sierra winter in a cabin close to Donner Summit--where nobody had attempted to do such? No problem. Walk across Wisconsin? No problem.

Never mind that a couple of these projects ended disastrously (and we shall see if I actually do complete this addition someday). I have more heart than common sense; more will than brains.

Ian was kind enough to e-mail a description of the Costa Rica hike. I read it briefly last night--ignoring the nasty bits. This morning Joni and I sat down and really read the description of the hike. It felt like my stomach dropped out of my body when I read about: "careful on the precarious bridges" and "handholds" and "cliffs" and the "green wall". The description doesn't mince words at just how dangerous and strenuous this ordeal will be. The hike starts at around 2,700 feet...and ends at over 10,000 feet---with two mountains to climb (it is silly to climb two, don't you think?). If I didn't feel led to do this hike (damned Jungian Synchronicity!), I would chuck the whole thing, open a bottle of wine and devour a plate of brownies.

Time to get real serious.

Raining today. So I put on the loaded pack and did the Long Loop. It took fifty-two minutes and twenty-five seconds. We intensify our efforts now. I might do the Long Loop a second time today.
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