A Matter of Perspective

An old foundation along the Delaware Ridge Trail.

An old foundation along the Delaware Ridge Trail.

A wet start.

A wet start.

The Hike, much like life is a matter of perspective.  Take our last backpacking trip: a 3 day 2 night hike over 27.3 miles in the Western Catskills, on a series of trails known collectively  as the Delaware Ridge Trail.  The trail is described in Adirondack Mountain Club’s Catskill Trails Essential Guide, 3rd Edition as the following  “… provides a rugged and thoroughly interesting network of trails.”  The key word you must read here, and the one to be wary of is “interesting”.  We found the author clearly mistook the word “interesting” for hard, difficult, and prepare to suffer!

Drying out at first camp, the morning of day two

Drying out at first camp, the morning of day two

Which brings us back to the matter of perspective.  Yes, the hike was difficult and boy did we suffer, however, interspersed with the challenges are things of great beauty and experiences that belong only to that moment.  So which will you choose to remember?  The suffering and hardship, or the beauty and experience? What we choose to remember of life defines our perspective.

Cheryl on a hot and exposed ascent.

Cheryl on a hot and exposed ascent.

The conundrum of course is that you can not have one without the other, hardship and beauty seem at times to have been born holding hands.  Without the pouring rain the first day, causing her to have to look down and pay close attention to footing, Cheryl may have missed literally stumbling across the fresh ramps she was looking for to complete a Miso Noodle Bowl recipe she was working on.  Without slogging straight up mountains where some parasite or blight has taken the trees and left a trail that is a hot scar of weeds, rock and brambles exposed to the sun, would we  appreciate as much the gentle grades through pine forest where walking on the fallen needles is like walking on a carpet of the deepest pile? Without emptying our last drink of water and having to hike on for another hour before finding more, does the cold clear mountain stream seem as mystic or vital?

Picture Post Card lunch spot.

Picture Post Card lunch spot.

So which will we choose to remember?  Having to make a cold and wet camp the first night, or the way the rising sun burned away the mist the next morning?  Hot exposed climbs that seemed to be prime venomous snake territory, or that Cheryl saw her first bear in the wild (or at least his plump bumbling backside running away from us)?  The fact that we got a later start than we wanted and didn’t make it to the scheduled lean-to, or the fact that we found a completely secluded back country camp site and didn’t see another person for 24 hours? Should we choose to remember the feeling of blisters growing underfoot, or the lunch taken in an idyllic meadow of the kind only seen in magazines?

Sunrise from the tent the morning of day three.

Sunrise from the tent the morning of day three.

Back at home. Clean again, bellies full and laying in soft fresh sheets, the ache of the exertion of the past days slowly leaves our muscles – leaving us with only the pleasant memories of time well spent.  So as it turns out, the Hike is much like life; without the pain of suffering and sadness we do not acutely and fully experience all of the joy and gladness the Trail has to offer.  As the author of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Catskill Trails Essential Guide, 3rd Edition has said, it is all a very “interesting network of Trails”.

Miso Noodle Bowl

  • 2 pks instant miso broth
  • 1 bundle of udon noodle
  • 2 tsp freeze dried garlic
  • 5 tbsp freeze dried mushroom
  • 2 tsp freeze dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freeze dried jalapeño
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 bouillon cube – any flavor – but beef is super yummy with mushroom
  • 2 packs of soy sauce
  • 4 heaping tbsp of dehydrated cabbage
  • 24 oz of water
  • 2 ramps sliced thin, stalk and greens (optional!!)
Miso Bowl Fixins

Miso Bowl Fixins

On your walk keep your eyes open for ramps and when you find them harvest by loosening the bulbous base with your trekking pole tip and then pull up by the stalk. Wash really well – with your filtered water – and toss in your pack where they won’t get too terribly smooshed.miso

In camp add the miso, bouillon  and cabbage to the water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the freeze dried items and seasonings, stir in well until all the freeze-dried items are saturated. Break the noodles in half and place in water, simmering for another minute. Turn off the stove and let rest for 5 minutes. Add two packs of soy, serve and enjoy!

This is a great weight saving meal that cooks quickly and doesn’t use a lot of fuel – a win all around – but especially wonderful when its a bit damp and chilly out.

Serves 2

miso seasoning

 

2 thoughts on “A Matter of Perspective

  1. Bonjour, Cheryl and Graham–What a great post! I love hearing the philosophy of hiking and how the struggle and hardship goes hand and hand with the joy and the discovery. I love ramps! And what a great recipe. Thanks so much for this wonderful essay. Jamie

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