[dropcap custom_class="normal"] I[/dropcap]n the midst of planning for my #CouchTo14er, I started, and just finished, an inspiring and engaging book about a woman who joins her husband when he decides to hike the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.
Gail Storey's memoir, I Promise Not to Suffer, begins in this way:
"I never much cared for nature, or rather, thought it okay as long as it stayed outside."
I read that, and laughed. Because, honestly, I've had a similar thought many times. I grew up in the ’burbs of Chicago. A girl most at home in museums and theaters and shopping malls and libraries and pizza parlors. And while over the past 20-plus years of living in Colorado, I've become somewhat of a short-trail, near-the-city, hiker, I don't like to bike, or ski, or camp. And bugs and crawly things usually give me the creeps.
I'm not afraid of physical challenges. And I've been known to be somewhat competitive. (I've trained for and run a half-marathon. I dance — it's hard to find a dance challenge I won't take on. And I climbed the Incline once. Although once was enough to be able to say, "Oh yeah, I've hiked the Incline.")
Mostly, I just prefer to be, well, clean. And air-conditioned in the summer, warm and cozy in the winter. And my slightly girly self. Which made completing the Colorado Spartan Military Race incredibly gross, what with all the mud. (After I found dark gook still hanging out in my belly-button three days later, I retired from all mud races.)
All that to say, this 220-page book grabbed me from the first line and kept me going throughout. Because while it tells the details of Gail and her husband's physical trek, it also focuses heavily on the emotional journey such a trek calls forth — as indicated in my favorite line:
"Would my Good-Girl self, never good enough, and my Bad-Girl self, never bad enough to have the fun my Good-Girl missed, make peace in the space and adventure of the trail?
As I've written previously, climbing Pikes Peak (our local 14er) is on my #40before41 list. Earlier this week I asked for suggestions on how to prepare for such a journey. Lots of you sent in ideas, which I'll compile and post in a future blog. Only one of you, however, mentioned the emotional side of things ... which, now having read this book, I think I may need to more seriously consider.
And in the meantime, I'm curious to know if those of you out there who are readers have other books of this ilk to recommend?