2012-06-20

A midsummer's hike

Ten minutes after this article publishes, the June solstice of 2012 will occur (2012-06-20@23:10 UTC). As written in my "Survive in extreme temperatures" article published at the last solstice (December):
During a solstice, the "tilt" of the Earth is at its greatest angle in relation to its orbit around the Sun.
For astronomers, today's solstice marks the start of Summer in the Northern hemisphere. As much as I love astronomy, I prefer to view the seasons as we do our days: When the Sun is at its peak during the day, we say it is midday. In the same way, when the Sun appears at its Northern most in the sky, it is midsummer.

This midsummer marks the start of my primary hiking season. In fact, by the time this (automatically) publishes, my girlfriend and I should be well on our way to the location of our hike. We are both avid hikers year-round, but I've found that I most enjoy tackling larger summits during the warmer months.

During this hike, I am hoping to try something new. I have a tendency to push myself to find and maintain a constant pace while hiking; essentially, forcing myself to march up mountains. This time, I'm going to experiment with strategically changing the pace based on incline.

If we encounter a flat area, I hope to push myself slightly beyond a comfortable pace. When we encounter an incline I hope to slow myself to a pace below my comfort. I'm curious to observe the results on my overall performance. My goal is to keep the focus on comfort, not time or destination.

I love finding new and exciting experiences throughout the world, but I sometimes find myself pushing physically so hard toward some goal that I ignore what I'm feeling about the experience of getting there. I certainly enjoy the external aspects of the experience (e.g. beautiful views, incredible company, wondrous wildlife). I hope that this new approach to my pace will help me to be mindful of the internal experience as well.
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