Day 33 – Lady Winter

Word of warning… This is just the cathartic act of complaining, giving the anger and frustration a voice and coming to terms with the possibilities that lie ahead and would rather be avoided. An acknowledgement that the level of discomfort or comfort is likely to be more challenging than it has been and I need to get my mind sharpened, honed and ready so that fear, self doubt and indecision aren’t there to cripple me when I need to act with a natural fluidity that is likely to allow me to make progress and learn.

 Everyday I look at the peaks around me.  Everyday they gain a layer of snow.

Everyday I make a note of the time the sun sets.  Everyday the amount of sunlight decreases.

Everyday I make a note of the temperature.  Everyday the temperature drops lower and lower.

This is not a complaint.

Lady Witner is coming.  She has already started to take back her lands.  Further to the north, she has all but reclaimed what is hers, here in the Arctic circle.  At my current lattitude, winter arrives in late September and early October.  The E1 is not a route that was planned to head south as quickly, or by the shortest distance possible.  I’ve studied all the maps here that show my route.  The route head up, reaches 800m and meanders only really losing 200m at the very most. The height at which is see snow around me.  A line that is dictated by the climate and is dropping lower with each passing day.

I feel an uncontrollable sense of frustration and with it anger.  Anger that is slowly smouldering into rage.  The longer I am stuck to this location the deeper the rage becomes.  It effects my body language, my demeanour and my tolerance of others around me.  I appreciate I can rest, I can lay down energy reserves, I can deal with injuries, but what I can’t do is get ahead of Lady Winter.  She’s coming, she doesn’t care that I am here, she has no consciousness to register her effect on progress and really she’s nothing more than a shift in the Earth’s position in relation to the Sun.  

This is not a complaint.

By putting these word in front of me, I can come to terms with the reality of winter in the Arctic circle.  Progress that will be even slower than it has been.  The need for more food to be carried.  The increased probability that this venture will fail.  The anger gets a chance to morph into a something else, since it is the increased challenge and the demand that the level of comfort is lowered even further than it has been until I arrived here.

Until the tent arrives I’m going to regret the decision to wait for it as apposed to leave without one, travelling lighter and in theory quicker.  I know it sounds stupid, dangerous, careless, but to me, the wait here is stupid, dangerous in the long term and careless.  I should have listened to my instincts and ordered a spare tent pole, carrying it as a back up.  I shouldn’t have stood on the rock that pitied to be sloppier than expected, leading to an injury that effected my progress and I shouldn’t have stopped here.  

This is not a complaint, but an acknowledgment of frustration so that it doesn’t consume me and blind me to what I need to focus on.  Staying in the present, keeping my mind ready for what is coming and preparing for the worse possible scenario… Slow progress and winter in the mountains.  

But then, here’s the problem… I’m not letting go and allowing thing to happen as they need to.  Too focused on leaving.  Too focused on getting to the finish and not enough focus on being patient and having faith that all is in hand.

The question I should be asking is how long am I prepared to wait?

At its root m, this rant is about control…  Or the sensation that you are not in control and the other question I should be asking is what level of control or out of controlness  should I have or be willing to live with? 

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4 thoughts on “Day 33 – Lady Winter

  1. Am with you in thought buddy. Am praying to an imaginary god (is there any other kind)? That a spate of good.luck comes your way soon. Keep on moving brother as soon as it arrives. And do it fast.

  2. Me again. You’ve got a way with words Aleks. As someone who has walked with Lady Winter in some high places, I’d like to offer you three pieces of unsolicited, but nevertheless heartfelt, advice: 1) always keep a weather-eye peeled, 2) remember, in the mountains that fortune doesn’t favour the brave and 3) always have a Plan B. There’s no shame in the face of deteriorating conditions at altitude to retreat to lower elevations and wait it out or to take a safer route — that’s all three pieces of advice right there ๐Ÿ˜‰ The time I didn’t follow my own advice I ended-up trapped in a blizzard for 24 hours and was evacuated by helicopter in a very brief weather window — I had to dig myself out of the snow first, of course. All very exciting but not an experience I want to repeat!

    • And that description at the end is what I’d like to avoid. I’ve scoped the route lots and it’s all in mountain passes with little escape. A few spots drop to around 600m but the rest of higher. Cabins will be my escape holes ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’ve managed to calm the Savage beast of anger and completely (almost completely) resigned to deal with whatever comes as best as I can ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for the advice too. Will come in handy

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