Things change, and it’s okay.
Sussing out my mental space of Joffre Lakes from last year versus this year tells me everything. Last year I had no idea how to act around strangers, let alone spend 24 hours cooperating with them, and relied on a person with a similar ethnic and age background as me to make friends. I came home and was dead tired for two weeks, and depressed from being unable to process my emotions in a novel situation. And, at the end of those 5+ km, I was dead. This year I was energized and felt ready to take on more, and I was tired, but enjoyed every moment of the hike. My leg muscles sang praises to the uneven terrain, the one thing that my lazy body loves-bumpy, varied ground that makes for a fun ride, like snowboarding. It was giving me a runner’s high, something a person with anxiety disorder rarely feels and cherishes when they do. Many backpackers I know never visit the same place twice, but as some one who’s more of a scaredy cat, even though I know I don’t need to, I go to the same place twice or thrice in order to make myself more psyched with the unfamiliar outdoors. And I talked about having anxiety, and it was 100% okay. Because others go into this in order to face their demons, too.
Last year it took our collective group of ~10 4.5 hours to reach camp and both I and my friend nearly died from the effort; this year it took 2.5. Last year it was raining; this year was sunny all weekend. Last year we tried but failed to get close to a glacier. This year we took an easier route and everyone was awed by the solid zillion-year-old formations of ice. Last year we headed home early; this year we took a pit stop at the pub, after much laughter at my horrible directions, and shared fire-oven cooked pizza.
Anyways, it was beautiful, and taking on this nostalgic tone is more unnatural for me as time goes on. Nostalgia is beautiful, but more so is present time. Orientalism, something I learned in class, is the misappropriation of exotic detail to exaggerate and misrepresent a people and their place. Here, I won’t paint a picture of how beautiful it was, compared to dull reality-it just was, as normal as day, a bit more vivid, a bit more blue, but nonetheless very normal. And other than the slight increase of fitness, people I’ve met, and scenery I’ve seen, the most life altering change of this year of hiking and backpacking is seeing nature and feeling it’s normal and welcoming rather than being disabled by its supreme beauty.*
*Not that it doesn’t have supreme beauty. 😉
❤ Love, love love all my people on this trip. I organized it but it was really a group effort. It was perfect to have some newbies on the trip, to see my friend from last year again, a very entertaining and generous person, and to see another familiar face. I just love people sometimes.