Three months and one week doesn’t sound like an extraordinary amount of time, and in most cases, it isn’t. But when I think back to June 12, that hot summer day in Idaho marking the beginning of this hundred-day adventure, it feels like ages ago. Time seems to take on different characteristics when every day is spent doing something different than the last.
We always say “time flies when you’re having fun”, which I can’t disagree with. In some ways, this summer flew by. But when I take the time to think about each of those individual days, each containing a different distinct memory, all of a sudden that period of time expands like an accordion.
But just because the time flew by doesn’t mean it was always fun. Sometimes it genuinely sucked. Do anything for long enough and you’ll find yourself at times questioning why you ever thought it was a good idea in the first place. Like, for example, that time in Washington when it rained for a week straight and literally everything I owned was soaked through, FOR A WEEK. Or that morning my car battery died at Mono Lake in eastern California, miles away from anyone, on one of the hottest days of the summer.
Yet, in a way, aren’t those tough moments the moments that stick with us? I’ve always been a believer that it’s hard times like these that separate an adventure from a vacation. Without them, all that would be left would be pleasant memories—which don’t get me wrong, are great—but without some hardship to give context, the good stuff just kind of meshes together.
Spending one hundred days outdoors is something not many people get the privilege of doing, and is a period of my life I’ll look back on fondly. From wet clothes to broken vans, missing tent poles, giardia scares, sunsets, sunrises, night swims, day swims—memories that are already meshed together by nature of the incredibly fast pace in which they were created, memories that will take months to unpack and air out.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from this (other than that there’s no such thing as packing too many clean/dry pairs of socks), it’s that the outdoors are an incredibly powerful yet delicate place, and that it’s up to us to protect them so that they remain intact for people to create their own memories and have their own adventures—good, bad, over a hundred days or simply a weekend.
Just don’t forget the socks.
Day 96: Not much sleep last night. Up at dawn to scout the day’s climb and gauge the incoming clouds.
Day 97: Met up with some fellow van enthusiasts who showed us some wild back-roads!
98: Back on the rock, but today with clear skies and t-shirts!
99: Looking across Death Canyon thinking about last week’s climb up. My muscles are going to hurt after all this climbing…
Wow, day one hundred… feels… weird? Took a long walk, reflected on everything that’s happened. It’s been a lot!