Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Why do you do it then?

Last Sunday I hiked Gunung Nuang (via Pangsun), a trek that normally takes 12 hours. Since it's too gruelling to make it to the summit, we decided to just hike until Kem Lolo.

But after reaching Kem Lolo, we decided to push ourselves further and trek another 3km to Kem Pacat.
But we underestimated the trek and were woefully underprepared.

For one thing, I didn't pack any lunch nor any high-energy food like I normally would. And our water supply was dangerous low.

Halfway through the journey to Kem Pacat, I regretted my decision. But somehow turning back was out of the question. Hikers have this deep-seated pathological taste for suffering I guess hahaha

Then I got multiple cramps which made things even worse. It's not just the pain, it's the guilt of having to inconvenience others. (I'm indebted to the stranger who offered me his analgesic spray)

So after what seemed like forever, we finally reached Kem Pacat. Yeay! 
It was packed with around 40 hikers, all jubilant (and relieved) that they had made it that far.
We refilled out water bottles and had a good rest before embarking on the journey home.

That journey was even more torturous. At many points in the journey I felt like taking off my shoes and throw them far far away, all the while entertaining these thoughts: 
"I don't want to do this anymore..."
"I wanna be home, relaxing and bingeing on Netflix."

I wrote on instagram that the last 2 hours was pure, unadulterated torture. To which my friend asked, why do you do it then?

It's hard to explain but the picture below might help. It's taken from the Outside magazine. The illustration accompanied an article that describes how running has helped the writer keep his demons away.

And that's how I feel about hiking. The (temporary) physical pain and suffering somehow clear up my mind; they unravel the knots in my head and make my problems seem smaller. And the process allows me to regain clarity and purpose.

Further, hiking teaches you so many life's lessons. The most obvious one being: to keep going even when the going gets tough.

So yeah, while I do need a few days to recover from Nuang, I'm already looking forward to the next adventure :)