It’s now been a few weeks of epic adventures in Switzerland and the pace has been electric. We’ve racked up an average of two hikes every three days with the ‘day off’ consisting of a gym session, run or a smaller hike!
I’ve been managing the recovery of my hip but that injury aside, it’s always interesting to monitor the adaption of the muscles and the body to exposure of new activities. Over the last week, we have recorded over 5,000 meters of vertical climbing and 50kms of hiking. For experienced climbers, that number may seem minuscule, but to amateurs from a relatively flat hometown such as Adelaide, Australia; these are numbers that will change your body.
The incline impacts not just your legs but your whole core. The smaller muscles in your feet may ache in the morning. These are muscles you don’t even know how to trigger. Your forearms might be fatigued from climbing ladders, it’s not a muscle you use as aggressively normally.
However, there is one form of adaptation that is the most prevalent and possibly the scariest. It is the adaptation of your surroundings. How long does it take before you are no longer in awe of a glacier? How many times can you be at 2000 meters before it becomes the norm? At what point have you become accustomed to the incredible Swiss scenery?
These are all quite daunting questions and they undermine the idea of slow travel. Those who travel to a new place each day on a smash-and-grab Euro trip overload their senses daily with new experiences, sights, and stimulus. If you stay in a country, such as Switzerland, is there a certain period after which the stimulus of your surroundings starts to impact you less?
Throughout my experiences, there is no denying that you can normalize environments, become accustomed to situations and even find adrenaline-rush activities less stimulating. Hiking every day in Switzerland means we see a lot of similar scenery. Despite it all being world-class mountain landscapes it can become repetitive in some regards.
I think the best way to overcome this adaptation is to be aware of it. Take each moment as it’s own individual experience as if it’s the only hike you will get to do in Switzerland or the only waterfall you will ever see. Don’t compare places, they are each unique and interesting in their own right. Appreciate the opportunity you have to be there witnessing a location at a specific moment in time. Be grateful to be able.
I’m not avoiding adaptation, I’m aware of it and I’m taking each adventure and each moment as a one-off, unique moment. That’s what makes each adventure special no matter if it’s day one in Switzerland or day one hundred.
These are my favorite photos from the last week here in Switzerland.