I’ve decided to rant about wind. The hatred of wind might not seem normal to you. You obviously have never found yourself grasped in a gust or wound up in a whirlwind.
Today in Fort Collins, the winds howl outside my window; the wind blows so strong causing my shutters to, well, shutter.
I imagine the windy city of Chicago just like northern Colorado in spring. Outside my window the sun beams down but only appealing for the untamed eye. For one who loathes that which flutters things into flurries, I know these gales aren’t typical gusts.
My disdain toward wind only accounts for gales, gusts, blasts, and whirlwinds. I will never argue against a joyful breeze, gentle draft, or cooling blow. Behind every distaste or animosity toward something unusual, or maybe not so unusual, is a point in time of initial hatred, the beginning, the reckoning, the exposure…
I had ‘dat’ hiker swag. After hiking five months, through 12.5 states, my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail would end within a few weeks. I knew I could hike any mountain. I knew I could demolish an uphill with my fully equipped hiker legs.
I had just entered the hardest points, mountains, scrambles of the Appalachian Trail – the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We, we being my hiking partner/love, found a wonderful camp spot with an outstanding sunset view. When we rose in the morning, the clouds moved in producing nothing but a foggy and damp breakfast.The White Mountains go up and down and up and down and up and down.
We were heading up.
Think of a trail. I’m sure you are imaging a dirt path leading up a hill with a view of a meadow and maybe mountains in the background. Now imagine a trail without a dirt path, but instead a path leading through a jumbled rock pile. Now imagine there is no path. There we are (you’re catching on).
I like to think the jumbled rock field isn’t so bad when it’s sunny and dry. The jumbled rock pile might even have an outstanding view, I wouldn’t know. The rock pile probably is doable even with a little fog or light rain. I imagine the jumbled, rocky mess is easier on any other day than today. I imagine NOT because, don’t forget, we are in the unforgivable, worst weather in America, White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Moving forward and upward, we climb further into the aggressive cloud of fog, wind, and rain, full of moisture and full of girth. The winds pick up. I dash behind boulders to catch my breath and strengthen my sanity. The large boulders provide a wind block as if blocking the wind was their job. I step, moving forward, every step closer to my destination, to the northbound thru-hiker’s destination: Maine.
The jumbled and jagged rock field is the trail. The wet, slippery rocks must be chosen carefully for a hiker’s foot might easily see an injury. Make no assumptions or hopeful wondering if any rock exists with a solid or flat platform. This is the White Mountains of New Hampshire, you should expect this weather, this terrain.The White Mountains of New Hampshire… “Just wait until we get into the Whites” hikers would say. “This is nothing compared to the Whites” said every thru-hiker ever.
Figuring a perfect path for my sturdy, strong, and resilient feet was bad enough in this jumbled rock pile without the whipping wind and rain. I could feel the windburn developing on my face. My tears are swept away with the wind; my tears fly off my face, easily noticeable, as they are bigger than the quickly moving moisture drops. The wind forced me here and forced me there. But, how can I walk on a jumbled pile of rocks when the wind whips and the rain drips?
My gloves become useless. My hands start to turn cold and red. The wind loves to swipe my exposed cheeks. I experience beard envy. I wonder how fast the wind actually moves. I think 40 miles per hour or whatever is enough to knock me down every couple gusts.
My crying won’t help me escape the wind. My bitching won’t alleviate the pain and the coldness that surrounds my body. I walk like I walked the past five months: one step in front of the other with the surprise I still experience new, disturbing, and abusive forms of weather, the abusive ways of wind.And that, my friends, is why I hate wind. This gif is the only footage I have of myself on that windy day.