Wednesday, April 23, 2014

-Boundary Water Expedition Day #9

*The Best/Worst Day*

February 26, 2014:

         To put it nicely, lets just say today was a personal challenge at its best...

          For the first time since my Marine Corps. years of experience, I was tested physically and mentally throughout today's events which certainly pushed my limits. Far beyond the capabilities of my inadequate snowshoes I trudged through the deepest snow yet, easily expending 3x the amount of energy as the rest of the group. For the better part of today I struggled through more than a foot and a half of overflow along multiple stretches across Lake Annie, Lake Eddy and Lake Jenny making for one frustrating, cursing day. My feet would punch right through the top layer of snow and I found myself stuck up to my knees again and again in this soupy mess. Every step forward was dreadful and discouraging so I had to dig deep in order to lift each foot out of these slush pits. Air temperatures were well below -25 degrees causing more than twenty pounds of this mess to nearly freeze to my legs and snowshoes instantly. I'd have to wait a few moments for it to become completely frozen so I could break it off as solid ice. My toboggan would then sink into the path I had just created, stopping me dead in my tracks. The icy slop would immediately freeze to the bottom, making it impossible for one person to budge. Three of us had to harness ourselves to my sled and give it everything we had to pull it from the swampy terrain. The one hundred twenty pound sled would then have to be turned over on its side each time, allowing the slush to freeze completely so I could chip it all off and it could once again glide freely on top of the snow. I was in shambles and may have let it be known once or twice through my actions however I did not let it get the best of me. At times I wanted so badly to just say, "Screw it I'm done!" but that thought was clearly not an option out here in the middle of sub-zero nowhere.. Every so often I would just sit down and stop what I was doing. I would breath deep and exhale slowly, remembering my place and purpose out here among this vast wilderness. I'd begin to admire the wind whipping up whirls of fine snow and the sound it made across the landscape. I'd notice the contours of evergreens climbing the rocky slopes that surrounded me, getting lost in the connection to it all and surrendering myself to the silence. I would then close my eyes, take another deep breath, smile and give thanks for everything this experience is teaching me before pushing forward another 50ft. This is exactly the challenge I was looking for, with a reward greater than any material offering. I honestly believe the foundation and wisdom attained in all previous years of my life directly reflected on accomplishing the inward struggle of today's obstacles. I live in each moment, for it's the only thing we can truly be sure of and I'm forever grateful for this opportunity we call living. 

      For dinner I made a garlic & butter and a pesto & butter bannock which melted in our mouths. After all, a hot, savory meal will lift anyone spirits following such a challenging day. Then put them immediately to sleep.. Zzzzzzz....       


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