Your feet haven't been dry in miles, ice is beginning to slip and melt into your socks, your knees have been scrapped raw from tiny particles, your calves burn with the intensity of each step becoming a climb regardless of elevation change, you are waist deep in snow once again. Every time you step out of your waist size hole, you hope, you pray, you induct any Deity that your mind can find in that moment that the next step will be on firm ground. You begin to put more pressure in the new step, little by little, your hope grows. You feel your hope begin to soar as you haul yourself out of the 1,000th personal hiker size hole of snow for the day. You smile as you begin to take your next step now, having one where you were above instead of below the snow. Then everything comes crashing down, quite literally as well as figuratively. The snow only teased a promise of holding your weight, let your hope build to the point of belief, and then only once you truly believed, did it bring you back to its depths. The snow crumbles below your weight and you find yourself in the same hole, that you were just in a second ago, an hour ago, over many miles ago. You take a second to accept your reality again, look back at the little shadows of you in the from of giant holes left over the landscape as you feel every ultimate high of hope when you were on top and every ultimate low when you found yourself yet again waist deep in snow. You have been post-holing all day and as you scan the horizon in front of you, you realize you will continue to post hole all day, it is a fact, a reality, an inner truth. Yet, even in this unquestionable truth, every time you step out of that hole, you believe, truly believe the next step may be different, may hold your weight, may let your spirit soar as you soar over the snow. Is that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Maybe.... but let us live in this insanity and let us hope. Hope for compact snow, hope that the melting snow in our shorts will be kinder the next step, hope that we may have lost 50lbs since the last step, as our minds imagine us light as a feather across the snow, simply let us hope!
Look at that foot outside of the snow, and feel, feel the hope as it rises on top of the snow and in our hearts!
We realize that we have mentioned and briefly touched on what it means to be a part of a Posthole Party, but we want to let you know the realities of snow travel, in many forms. There is a true Posthole Party and then there is just post-holing. Let us begin by defining exactly what post-holing refers to. Post-holing is the act of when you are travelling through snow and it crumbles beneath your weight. This comes from the snow being soft and not compact enough to hold a hiker's weight. There are many realms even in post-holing itself. You could technically be post-holing and only your foot is being consumed by snow. This while not as physically demanding as the deep postholes still takes a toll on your body, because your feet are wet, soaked, and bricks of weight as they get colder and colder throughout the day. Then if you use your leg as a measuring stick, there is post-holing that can be any depth up to the knee. Post-holing in ankle high snow, shin high snow, and knee high snow all bring their unique challenges. Then there are the post-holes where it turns into a party! The post-holes that are never ending, all encompassing, all consuming. You do not hit bottom, instead usually your pack stops you from completely becoming one with the snow, that is how you know it is a real party!
Post-holing in any context is demanding. It is tiring because each step exerts additional energy. Occasionally that additional energy is more mental, with baby post-holes that only cover your shoe in snow. While not being much more physically demanding in the form of outputting more calories and more physical energy, it still consumes your mind. Having wet feet and having ice shred the socks and the skin inside of your shoes, can be mentally draining. Knowing that you have this type of snow travel for the foreseeable future can either amplify that draining feeling or you can shift your focus. Shift your focus to the beauty around you. Shift your focus to the blessing in the fact that the snow is not deeper. Shift your focus outside of your feet, which believe us is still hard to do, will always be an ongoing lesson, the snow our teacher, yet still you have to find that shift. Do not let the snow catch your feet and your spirit. Instead find the beauty around you.