It's just Walking
What are you doing?
Whatever I envisaged, this is the task. This is the activity. This is it. All of it. Just walking.
As you can imagine, the pace matters. Finding fast enough matters, but "don't burn yourself out or injure yourself" matters too.
Every day we wake up and grab something for the go. And walk. We hurry stops for water (we call it the dip and dash) so we can get back to walking. We eat a short lunch to rush the walking, or a long lunch to recover for walking. And we walk into camp late as we can, to get as much walking in as we can.
Step by step, 2650 miles is a long way, and these miles don't walk themselves.
We aren't fast.
We have three gears:
Toddleberry - Inspired by Tim Conway's sketch, Mr Toddleberry, this is the slow slow. It is excruciating to endure these hours. It is inspired by pain, tiredness, difficult terrain, or protest. Anything under 1.5 miles per hour qualifies.
Toddlebooster - This is a slow walk with something of the illusion of an acceptable pace. It's not Toddleberry, and it doesn't feel like it. You don't even know you are in this zone until you glance at your watch and realize, "at this rate we will make it to Mexico in 2019." Anything between 1.8 and 2.2mph qualifies for this category.
Making Hay - Make hay while the sun shines! Ahh. This is when you are cruising, gobbling up the miles, the wind at your back and a song in your heart. You look at your watch, and there is still so much time. At this rate you'll make 30 miles easily! It is anything over 2.7mph.
There are culprits for each category. We all have our own preferred pace, our own senses of urgency (or not).
Henry is bored His stands on top of a couple of toothpicks and would effortlessly keep 3 mph if we'd get out of his way. He marches to the music. He kicks his toes out and swings them in just to have something to do. He refuses to use trekking poles and hunches over to lean into the climbs. His hands are always on his shoulder straps, so he wears a dirt triangle at his elbows.
Aiden is no less speedy, though she is more patient. Her stride is calm and assured. She prances a little, but it is relaxed enough that it says, "I can do this all day." Her walk is efficient.
Georgie has a lazy looking stride. She flirts with being a bit knock kneed. She is all over the path, right to left. Partly, because her eyes are on the flowers, berries, and views. She stumbles a lot, twists her ankles, and will not learn the lesson. Georgie has every bit the look of being out for a stroll.
Monica has a careful and determined walk. She is walking with almost constant foot pain and assuredly has some degree of plantar fasciitis. She steps gingerly and carefully. Most of her walk can be explained by the awareness of pain, but she has also to be wary of falling. Let's just say, she is not a near relation to sure footed.
June is a plodder. She walks like a stocky Irish coal miner. I think you must know what I mean. The trouble is, her walk has a bit of a poker face. She can be in the Toddleberry zone and it looks and feels exactly like her Making Hay. One day in great frustration I asked her to speed up. She was devastated. I looked at my watch and we had been going 2.5 mph, uphill.
It's 5:15 now, time to wake them up for the walk.