When you're walking each and every day--the old up-down, up-down-- you become desensitized to the utter beauty that surrounds you. The breathtaking views from high above the clouds, the panoramic sights from the ridge walks, the steep switchbacks, the fresh air: it all becomes the norm. The nature that you crave while you're working doubles or stuck in traffic or spiraling down a technology vortex to the end of the internet, it just becomes your life.
You measure this life by miles. Always with the miles. The date, the day of the week, even the time becomes relatively useless to you (unless you need to pick up something at the post office). But the miles count. And you count them.
We met a hiker named "Gush the Lush" who hikes wearing a tie. He loosens and removes it during breaks and then tightens it up when he's ready to get back on the trail. "Back to work."
Instead of measuring your life with bookend weekends, approaching concerts, auto pay bills and post dated rent checks, it's the miles. How many til the next water? How many can we get in before noon? How many more to go? How many can we do before sunset? How many will we hitchhike to town?
There is also the dreaded elevation profile of the miles. Up and down. Down and up. Too da loo. When's the next burger joint?
And weather. There is always weather to consider. The constant costume changes from the cold and dewy mornings to the stifling afternoons back into the chilly evenings and the even cooler nights ("hiker midnight" is about 9pm) are infuriating. Toss the pack, lose a layer, gloves back on. Cinch the hip belt, good to go. Wait, then you've gotta pee.
We've hardly used our headlamps at all, since we're bundled and in bed long before dark.
The days are long. The nights seem short. The miles fly by. The shoes and socks are full of holes. The packs are heavy when they're pregnant with food, so we snack. And snack. Then they are light again. And we dillydally along.