Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Not the Destination

I like to think of myself as an "enjoy the journey" type of person, but lately I realize I have a few conditions on that attitude. For example, if the journey includes hiking, then I much prefer to go up first and down later. There are some hikes that start at a high point and go down, only to return to the top. These are not enjoyable to me. The most memorable journey of this kind that I have taken would have to be from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The North Kaibab Trail descends thirteen miles to the floor of the canyon, but our group was short on time, so we agreed that our destination would be Roaring Springs, a mere five miles below the rim. The trip down should have been idyllic; it was early June, the sky was a perfect blue, the air was cool, the sun was warm, the birds were active, and lots of wild flowers were in bloom, but my boots were weighted with dread, because I knew that every step down was one I would have to take back up-- and five miles straight up is a really long way. I can't say that I enjoyed that journey at all.

I understand that it's all in my mind, and so I try to work around it. When I think "Grand Canyon" these days, I think, "book a room at Phantom Ranch for a couple nights" or even "mules." Either would help improve the journey for me. When I ride my bike, before I choose my route, I check the wind and consider the elevation. I want to start out going up, or at least down on a veeerrrrry gradual incline, and then up in the middle, but if the wind will be against me on the way back, that's a deal breaker. (And then there are the days when the wind shifts while I'm on my bike ride, and that's almost enough to make me cry.)

Somewhere, I got it into my head that if I work diligently and in good faith, then there should come a point in any experience where I can coast and still expect to finish well. Now, that's the type of journey that I enjoy. Hmm... something makes me think that I may be missing the point.

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