The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Trek Begins in One Month

I was in Chicago this past weekend for a writers' conference (AWP) and did some Lake Trek shopping! I went to North Face (the place you'd go to get outfitted to climb Everest) and got some rain-shedding pants for the trek. As I was approaching the store, though, along the base of the John Hancock Building, the wind caught my specially vented, high impact umbrella and turned it inside out. It was the kind of wind that makes it impossible to breathe and I had that animal instinct to crouch and hunch until the worst of it had passed.

I'm looking forward to being in weather during the trek, to working up heat from within when it's cold, and to plunging in the lake when I'm too hot. We live in such a climate-controlled world now. With a touch of a button we regulate our environment so that our bodies no longer do that work. I'm looking forward to living fully within my body during the trek. I'm sure the aches and pains of training for the trek are minor compared to the aches and pains of doing seventy miles in five days.

That first segment: Chicago to New Buffalo, Michigan is just that. Seventy miles traveled over five days. A distance that I would drive in under an hour I will cover on foot over days. It's a different way of moving through space. This extremely connected-to-the-earth method of walking, sole-of-boot-to-soil, that we've also moved away from. We glide in cars, hopping in and out of them as near to our destinations as possible, and pulling into our garages (an extension of our homes) when we return. We avoid the weather unless it is pleasant.

I'm looking forward to moving through unpleasant (and pleasant) weather. To feeling each step. To recording the distance not on an odometer, but in my bones and sweat and breath and number of waves reaching toward my feet on the beach.

The trek begins one month from today.

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