Enduring The Stepping Stones


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Last night was tough. While cycling to the north end of town I was met with cool temps, and a 30mph head wind that slowed my progress significantly.  It made me cold, uncomfortable, and a bit disheartened by my snail pace.

But, I couldn't be more happy that I encountered bad conditions yesterday.
When I go on expeditions I get really hard.  I can't really explain it, but I transform into a "spartan mode" of sorts.  When I get back to the city I get soft and weak, and I spend all of my time writing and buying cheeseburgers and avoiding hipsters.

This transition is extremely difficult, especially when returning to the wilderness after being softened by the luxuries of society.  That's where cruddy nights (like last night) come in handy.  It forces me to get outside of my comfort zone and endure the elements, if only for a short while.  When I go for a long period of time without being challenged it's like a boxer going from fight to fight without getting punched.

It's times like last night that give me a glimpse into what I'm capable of when I take on a challenge.  To be completely honest, I'm not sure if I've been challenged enough to push my limits to the max.  Though the Gila Expedition was rough, it was short.  I knew that I would just get to go back to a warm, comfortable bed as long as I stuck it out for 100 miles of wilderness.  Luckily, my next expedition won't be so gentle on me.

When I set out for the Salmon "River of No Return" next June I will surely be pushed farther than ever before.

But, enough about me.  Like I said, I don't know if I have pushed myself to my absolute limits yet, but I know of a few people who have, and I look to them for inspiration every time an expedition nears.  I encourage you to look at these adventurers who set the standard for resilience.

Take Alastair Humphreys for example.  The guy stuck it out through a 4 year journey of biking around the world on a shoestring budged.  Another feat that I admire him for is the time he finished the Marathon des Sables with a severely injured foot.

Andrew Skurka is another adventure guru who is constantly inspiring me to push my limits.  His recent ultra-distance hike was 4700 miles through Alaska, and the Yukon.  He doesn't make excuses. He just goes for it!  In fact, he has (to my knowledge) finished every long distance hike that he has ever taken on.

Then there's one of my biggest "man crushes" of all time, Ben Sauders, who I recently had the pleasure of interviewing.  He trekked solo to the North Pole, and then spent the next 10 years planning arguably the most difficult modern Antarctic journey undertaken.

I hope for many more terrible, miserable nights of training before my expedition next June.

After all,

"The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them. – Unknown"