Nov 20, 2005

Abandon every hope, all you who enter

At least, that's what I thought as I approached the trailhead. I couldn't get Aligieri out of my mind. My hiking club (I started it) decided to take on the Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop today. It was rated as a moderate, 7-mile hike. To be honest, I've been dreading this hike for weeks. Since the day I announced it. This morning, I woke up. Nervous. See, I'm a beginning hiker, so I'm trying to work on getting the cardio part down. Needless to say, this trail proved to be a challenge, physically and mentally.

Challenging physically, in the sense that I'm just a beginner hiker, and I've gotten my ass kicked on every single hike I've gone on so far. Challenging mentally, because as my first 7-mile hike, really had to dig real deep to find the will to finish the hike. Somewhere after Mile 4, I started to think, "I can't wait until this is over." I've been having problems maintaining my focus the last few weeks, so I wonder if that had anything to do with my attitude.

But with every dreaded footstep, and with every steep switchback, my mantra slowly became one of "just concentrate on getting one foot in front of the other." It reminded me of someone I know re-learning how to walk. Deconstructing the walk step by step. Breaking it down element by element, and distilling a solution to the issue. Getting down to the essence and redefining the idea of goal setting, applying it to a larger point of view. Even if you set minute-by-minute goals, one success builds upon the next, leading to a final crescendo of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Here's hoping I find some inspiration this week.

UPDATE: If you'd like to see more pictures, click here.


Brother Kenya said...

Congrats on making the loop without calling for Medevac! I love the Steep Ravine trail, which in places feels like it's right out of Jurassic Park; fun to climb that ladder too.

Mt. Tam has plenty of trails with less of an elevation gain, great views, and not that many people (if you time it right). In fact, I'm gonna be down there on Thanksgiving!

It gets easier, Mags. Enjoy every inspirational step!

Mags said...

Seriously, Brother K - Steep Ravine was my ultimate favorite part of the hike, and it was this leg of the hike in which I found most of my inspiration to go on. Getting on that ladder was THE reason I wanted to do this hike. It didn't disappoint. I couldn't help feeling like I was Frodo running from those evil horsemen in LOTR. Of course, I forgot what they were called. But I think you know what I mean. Anyway, I had many Frodo moments on that trail. It was awesome.

And of course, I'm really sore today and I'm walking around the office like Frankenstein. It's so not cute. But it was worth it. Every step.

The next time we're up in that area, you should join us. :D

Generik said...

Seven miles is a long hike, but DAMN that looks beautiful! And I think you probably picked the perfect day to do it. Good for you for being so bold and then following through.