Because Geoff and I are both into the Outdoors and both spend a large chunk of our time involved in outdoor activities, I think most of our friends just assume we spend a lot of time outdoors together. This couldn't be further from reality. There are a handful of good reasons for this: Right at the top, our schedules (I work nights and weekends; he works mornings on weekdays.) Then there's the fact we both value our solo time, usually have different training goals (which means he runs and I can't keep up with him) and also have different ideas about what makes for a fun few hours outdoors (which means I go out and ride my road bike in the rain and he darts up muddy trails and we both believe the other is enduring hell on earth.) So any time Geoff and I go outside together, it's actually a rare event ... a novelty. A date.
Today he actually agreed to go hiking, one of our rarest dates of all. I think even if I had perfect memory, I could still count on one hand the number of times Geoff and I have hiked together in two years in Juneau. Geoff does not hike. Geoff runs. The way he sees it, it could take him two hours to run ten miles up a crazy steep mountain and back, or it could take him five. He'd just rather bust it out in two. For him, the five-hour effort is twice as hard, but that's what he gets when he has to follow his stumbling, slow girlfriend up the mountain. Lucky for me, he's planning to run a marathon tomorrow (his first!), so he didn't mind doing a "low impact" walk up Blackerby Ridge. ("I don't think my heart rate went above 100" he told me as we were crabwalking down the sheer ladder of roots that we had to climb up for a vertical half-mile just to reach the ridge.) I, on the other had, would have redlined at anything faster than 1.5 mph.
(Geoff carried a cold Pepsi and a bag of Sun Chips for his "peak" snack - I have taught him well.)
The ridge was pretty well socked in with clouds and the views were obscured at best, so having Geoff there definitely made all the difference between a fun hike and a fairly disappointing one. We finally discussed at length what went down the last few days of his GDR, including psychoanalysis about whether or not he really "had" to quit. I said yes, his motor stopped firing, he was done. He still thinks there may have been a few tricks the kick start his sputtering engine, and it was great fun to speculate about what might have worked as we slid down the muddy trail. Before I knew it, we were back to the trailhead. It was a solid five hours, but one of my more effortless-seeming workouts in a while. Yes, solo outdoor activities are a wonderful thing. But company is kinda nice, too.