We all have those moments, those feelings, when something might not be right. Usually we ignore them and press on. Premonitions, psychics, and skeptics are looked at well, skeptically. Every once in a while that feeling won’t shake. The bad vibes become all encompassing and can’t be ignored.
I was finally heading to a certain hike that I hadn’t done before, I should have been more excited but I just couldn’t get myself hyped. I checked my email, which I never do before a hike and I was taking a really long time to get ready. It was like my mind put my body in slow motion.
When I got into the car the GPS was working but it wasn’t talking to me. Not even Google wanted me to go on this hike. The uneasy feeling began to rise in my stomach. It could have been the breakfast burrito, but something just didn’t feel right.
As I came around a corner on the highway the sky which was blue to start my trip was suddenly a grayish. Not overcast and foreboding but just a thin cloud casting as much doubt as shade. Were Google Maps and Mother Nature conspiring to make this a hard trip?
As I exited the highway on my way towards the mountain pass the warnings started to look more like signs. Like literally, there was a sign on the road that warned of icy conditions and told me to reduce speeds. The car behind me did not read the sign and decided that following within a few feet was a better way to handle the ice.
The feeling began to grow stronger in my stomach. The sky darkened to a deeper shade of gray. My tires grip on the icy pavement gave way just enough to grab my attention. Taken separately these could all be coincidences but were they a sign? Nope, the sign was the giant orange sign warning back country users of avalanche dangers ahead.
Now, I had a couple of layers of clothes on but I didn’t think I was dressed for an avalanche and had no desire to find out. As I made my way slowly up the mountain pass the snow grew taller and the pit in my stomach sank deeper. I had been on this pass several times and even hiked to the peak of the mountain at the top. Why did I have these feelings? Another road sign: Slide Area Do Not Stop. The pavement darkened to the color of black ice and the clouds gathered tighter blocking more and more of the sun. Like the clouds were fighting to get a front row seat to my doomed hike.
While I wasn’t recognizing all of the signs of the bad vibes that were swirling like the wind in my soul I did recognize the consequences of my morning tea. I stopped at the top of Berthoud pass, a place I had been, and got out to see if bad vibes would flush down the drain as well.
They didn’t. I walked gingerly across the snowy parking lot. A walk I have taken before but never with my legs shaking as if I was a child taking my first step. The dark clouds had now blocked out the sun. The world was so dark that snow, piled high on the pass, looked black. Should I ignore all of the literal and figurative signs telling me stop? Was today’s hike worth it?
I got in my car. To the right was the hike, left was the way back down the mountain. I flipped my turn signal to the right. “It’s all in your head”, I whispered…also in my head. I turned left. I headed down the lightly iced hill toward the relative safety of the grounds I had just left. As I descended down the hill the clouds began to part, the snow became a brighter white. The road dried out. The sun shined down.
Bad Vibes or Good Choices
I probably would have been completely safe on that hike. Sure it was in an avalanche prone area but it was just a hike. I wasn’t going to a peak. Something in me told me that today was not the day for this. The mountain is going to be there tomorrow and the next day.
At the beginning of the year there is a lot of pressure to work harder, diet more, lose weight, or quit some bad habit. Nobody wants to break their resolution in the first two weeks. We all find excuses to quit or to keep going. The old devil and angel on the shoulder routine. Sometimes we push too hard and pay the price in the long run. Sometimes we just need an excuse to take a day off. Some times bad vibes can lead to good choices.
To be honest, as excuses go this one was about nine hundred words of brilliance. Can you imagine if I worked this hard on the actual hike!
More from the Fatman
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!