OUTDOOR GIRL AND THE BANKER
For those of you that have read this blog before you are well aware of my personal hatrid for hiking -(see above photo). In past blogs I've gone into detail about my first hike - one that couldn't have been more challenging and included a couple that had just returned from the mountains of Ecuador, another couple that was training for the Boston triathlon and the third couple that just returned from a three month stint hiking the Appalachian trail - for their honeymoon. On that particular trip, I couldn't even scramble up the first rock convinced I'd twisted my ankle and the bugs were using my neck as a personal bug zapper. Yet still - despite begging my husband E to leave me behind - he wouldn't.
I grew up at the end of the North Fork on Long Island. There are no mountains there. Growing up the closest thing I came to hiking was hiking up my skirt after I'd left the house with my girlfriends to trek around the Smith Haven Mall scoping out hot guys with mullets.
Twice a year E and I go to Maine. Twice a year we have the same fight that ends with the same two sentences after he won't let it go that we should go for a hike, "Well than you should have married a Teva wearing outdoors girl!" and then he yells back completely unrelated, "And you should have married a banker!" And then we both go to bed angry. It's great.
This trip something changed. We've been married now for ten months. In these ten months we have climbed more mini-mountains in our relationship learning to meet each other half way than we ever did in our dating years. Discovering what works for us and what doesn't. What we can accept and let go about each other and what we can't. Who is really good about replacing the toilet paper roll when it's empty and who considers the fridge nothing more than a place for things to die. You know. The important stuff.
Not once in planning this trip did E hint, mention, force, scream, yell, get pissed off that we should go for a hike while I talked through clenched teeth, looked out the window pouting, yelled, wept and sulked in the hammock with a cold glass of white wine. In fact call it love is blind or what but we didn't even have to get to that point because on the ride up I blurted out "Honey! Let's go for a hike when we're up here!" I thought E might swerve off the road in shock.
So we went for a hike. We climbed Mount Zircon - 2240 feet (I can hear you real hikers snickering at the height but hey - we had to start small). And it was buggy - really bad - even E agreed - mid-July/Maine/right before it rained, etc. But we climbed and climbed and overall it wasn't too bad and it gave me more of a chance to reflect on why I hate hiking so much.
I don't like feeling a lack of control. I don't like not knowing how long it is to get to the top and even more so what if I am not prepared? Do I have everything I need? Then...when I am at the top how long do we plan to be there before we head down? So much thinking it's crippling at times and so relevant to how for so many years I've conducted everything in my life. When you are married to another person you are no longer hiking alone. Whatever it takes you need to find a way to meet in the middle and are responsible for taking care of your side of the street. On this hike I decided to look stone to stone, stick to stick, step to step when climbing instead of casting my eyes up at the mountain ahead. It helped.
When we nearly reached the top (about 20 minutes away) the conditions started to worsen - more bugs, slippery dark thick mud, larger rocks and very steep. I was getting more and more out of breath and finally looked up at E and said I'd reached my limit. He didn't press me to keep going. Instead he only asked that I let him continue on his own until he reached the top to see the view. Which I did and hope I always do.