Why is it that I keep trying to enjoy hiking? I have been on numerous hiking trips and most of them did not turn out well. In the past I chalked this up to my lack of physical stamina and altitude but this time, I don’t think that’s the case.
Over the weekend my husband and I went to the Shenandoah national forest. From the very beginning it was all wrong. He wanted to charge on down the trail and I wanted to amble and take photographs. This lead to us hiking separately on the same trail for the next hour or so.
Rule #1 Chose a partner with the same idea for the day as you.
We met back up at a river crossing at the bottom of the trail. It had been mostly down hill so I figured that the other side would be mostly up hill. Because of all the rain the river was swollen and it was not easy to find a place to cross without getting my feet wet and not getting the new-expensive camera near the water either.
While contemplating this dilemma (going back or crossing) my husband appeared. For a brief moment we laughed a little, as we waded across and continued on together. After two more stream crossings, one slip and the camera almost in the water, I was more than done with the hiking. My husband however was mister chipper, totally enjoying himself. I started to wheezing at one point and broke down crying at another because I was so tiered and had no idea how much longer it would take to get back to the car.
Rule #2 Choose a partner with the same ability level as you or at the very least close.
It was another hour before we made it back to the car, all up hill. I don’t think I have been that miserable in a long time. But more than achy muscles and dehydration; I was really up set that the day I had foreseen, together with my husband, was gone into the either.
Maybe it would have been better if we had a plan or at least talked about it; a better map would have at least let me know what I was in for. At the end of the day all I remember about this trip it that it was not a happy one. And it is odd because my husband remembers all of these trips fondly. But he is not the one wheezing, getting their snow shoe wedged under a tree or feeling like they have let their partner down. He is simply happy to be out in the woods doing his thing.
Maybe I should stop trying to do “his” things and do “mine” instead. But that feels wrong, there have to be things we can do together? We share so many interests. It guess it is hard because we both love nature in very different ways. I am a quiet observer of the small things and he is a trail blazer. I appreciate his enthusiasm and passion for the woods, but I need to be honest about what works for me and what doesn’t. I have no desire to hike anywhere at a fast pace, let alone with a pack on my back. He is currently dreaming of going on a packing trip and until this latest bout, I had illusions of going with him, not any more.
Rule #3 Not one is happy when you are not honest with yourself.
When all was said and done we drove the rest of the Sky Way and it was beautiful. We stopped and had a well deserved late lunch and a cup of hot cider. These things mostly soothed the unhappiness that I felt but the experience was tainted. I don’t blame my husband or the woods, I blame me for not standing up for what I needed to do to be happy.
So next time, I’ll try to be more honest, even if it means I end up doing it by myself or without him. Its better than a fight and better than stacking one more thing on the “I’m not good at this” pile.