I bought Bill a return plane ticket to Tasmania so he can spend a week hiking across Cradle Mountain with my brother – they set off in the next couple of weeks. Bill turns 40 at the end of the year and he has spent most of his thirties having two kids. It has been a while since he has had true solitude, it has been a while since he took a holiday without small children and it has been a while since he has been able to tackle something really physically challenging. I thought this trip would be the perfect gift for him.
When you have kids with someone you discover new parts of yourselves together, but man, you close a lot of parts down, too. Whenever you have a child under five years of age I think your relationship is pretty much situated in a high altitude death zone. If you go and have a second child (or more) then you extend this time in the death zone to even longer than five years. What’s your capacity for endurance like? Shutting down part of yourself can become habit. Living on thin air. It’s a problem, because your partner as someone unrestrained and unavailable and with serious passions of their own is likely the stuff you fell in love with. They were not this ragged person with altitude sickness that you now see before you. And you have the sickness, too, and you are not so clear-headed, yourself. The view might be once in a lifetime and you can acclimatize to high altitudes, to a degree, and you can try and train for them, or buy yourself a bit of supplementary oxygen but there really isn’t much relief until you start the descent. With our youngest at three years of age I can feel that Bill and I are climbing back down. Oxygen.
This week I went out to Bill’s parents to borrow a food dehydrator so Bill can start preparing meals for the trek with my brother. When I told Bill’s parents about the gift and how excited Bill was about it I think I saw a little bit of hate in their eyes. I guess the hike is in the snow and in the middle of winter and they think I could have sent him to do something less dangerous.
When I told my sister about the plans for Bill and our brother to go on a climb together she sent me this.