This past weekend some school buddies from my Masters program and I went snowshoeing in a Provincial Park near Mattawa, Ontario. It was a glorious day full of sunshine and happiness. We did one short hike that took maybe 20 whole minutes, and then decided to do one more. We didn't think it would take longer than an hour.
We started trudging through the snow, climbing up some pretty steep, slippery, and rocky hills getting further and further away from our cars. After about an hour and a half we began wondering if we had reached the half-way point yet, and if we anywhere near the end of the trail. We were not. Not even close. We entered the park at 12:30 in the afternoon, and did not leave until 4:30. This was early January, and the sun was setting. The last 3km were walked at a very brisk pace, chasing the sun as it was setting behind the tree line. At one point, as we were faced with yet another hill to climb, I thought I would start crying. I just wanted to lean against a tree so I could stop walking.
We did not bring food or water. That was dumb.
Sometimes, being young and in relatively good shape makes us think that we are unstoppable. But we are not. Next time we do something silly like this, we are going to be sure to bring supplies: water, food, and fire starters.
It was funny, speaking to my friends after. I think despite all the scary moments, we actually had fun on the hike. I think it was because we were all together.
It also felt good finding my body's limits, and then pushing past them.
Of course, this meant that as soon as we got back to the house we made the cheesiest grilled cheese sandwiches and tongue-scalding minestrone soup. And promptly started drinking beer. That is the best thing to do after that kind of afternoon.