A Big Decade decision: Let go of one grand notion, Andres

Today was Day 5 of the Way we’re on. A short day and one with breathtaking beauty – passage through green tunnels of beeches and pines – so it offered a rare chance to think clearly. What’s more, this afternoon I finished one of the trip’s reading assignments – “Grit is a 4-Letter Word: The Psychology of Backcountry Travel” by Ann Gimpel. This clumsily titled book is a fascinating look at how “proper” hikers, those heading out with tent and stove into remote areas, handle and should handle their challenges. I enjoyed the read but . . .

. . . it’s time to address one of my proposed Big Years, the Hard Hike Big Year. I envisaged a year of tackling some iconic global hikes -Australia’s Western Arthurs; the Grand Canyon and some classic Utah adventures; the Tour du Mont Blanc; wending one’s way across the spine of Sicily. For so long, I’ve held in my mind a dream of achieving these tough hikes (compared to which, our current walk is a doddle) but now, with great regret, I have decided to dream those dreams no longer. I’m no longer entertaining thoughts of embarking on what are plainly younger mens’ adventures.

Why? Four key reasons: (i) not only are they extremely tough at the time, they take copious preparation, time I don’t have; (ii) I’m older and best focused, physically, on other types of hiking and exercise; (iii) Pam doesn’t want to do such walks; and (iv) they’ve lost meaningful significance for me.

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