The true test of a relationship is not how good the good times are together, but how you handle the bad times.
Recently I officially committed to a relationship. The first time in my life and I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what I’m doing. But having asked friends how to react or treat certain situations that evolve, it seems very few people know what they’re doing. But that’s ok, it seems to be part of the adventure. Right?
Now before I start this story, I should point out that this was all my idea. Yes, it was me.
Friday night after work, we prepared our hiking and camping gear and drove down in Ryan’s Dodge Ram Truck. The hike could possibly involve some off road driving, but would be up to Ryan’s ability and comfort level. The last time I went with a friend we didn’t make it past the first hill.
We started the drive and the first hill was terrifying. For me. Ryan drove up it without a worry, or at least kept it to himself. We continued up the old mining road. Loose rocks, narrow sections, a creek with big boulders. We kept going and I was thoroughly impressed. We passed some hikers who watched us continue to climb up the hill and their perplexed faces said it all.
We got to the last section that I had thought would be too difficult. We started up the long steep road, but that was it. The road had washed out too much and Ryan decided this was the end point for the drive. He started reversing the truck, which was possibly the most terrifying part and parking it off a little pull out. We had made 6km of the 7km road.
We hiked up in the beautiful evening. It was 7pm and the sun was out with a light breeze. The fireweed was in patches all across the mountains. Paddy Peak was clear and as we hiked higher and higher the views became more breathtaking.
We arrived up above the lake and it was beautiful. I had never seen Paddy Peak in the summer and it was truly incredible. We took too many photos but the cold air off the glacier caused some chilly digits. We hiked a bit further down and decided to find a camping spot.
There wasn’t many spots to put a tent. The breeze seemed to come in all directions and there was nothing to protect you from the wind. We found a flat spot that wasn’t shards of rocks and pitched the tent.
It was a Friday night, so we brought some red wine. It was about 9pm and we drank the tasty Shiraz away from the tent, looking out over the vista. It was incredibly chilly as the winds had gotten colder and stronger. But with no distractions of a phone or TV, we got to just hang out and enjoy being in each other’s company.
I went to go grab my jacket from the tent and as I approached the tent I saw it collapsing in on itself. I yelled for Ryan to come help. I never knew tents could be that flexible and still keep standing. This was not good. But we worked together and picked up the tent and turned it the other direction. The aerodynamics should work better so the wind would hit the tent head on.
We left the tent again to finish the wine, finding a less windy spot on a small cliff. The sun slowly set and the sky filled with orange and pink hues and the clouds started to crawl down the steep mountain of Paddy Peak.
It was bedtime.
We went to bed, thoroughly exhausted. Our faces felt on fire from the hours in the cold wind and the nice refuge we got from being inside the tent out of the wind was welcome.
We went to sleep with an incredible evening and looking forward to the next day.
An hour later I woke up. The tent was collapsing in on me.
I tried to keep sleeping, but to no avail. The winds continued and got stronger as the tent was collapsing in on us and pressing down.
Ryan was still asleep, I’m pretty sure he could sleep through the apocalypse. It rained, it gusted, the tent kept pressing down leaving no room.
Three hours passed and my claustrophobia and sleep exhausting couldn’t handle it anymore. I had to move.
Back in the old days of being single, I could've just packed up and moved lower down. But now there was someone else in the tent who wasn’t even aware the tent was folding down on them.
I woke up Ryan to tell him I have to hike down and I could wait for him in the truck.It took him a while to actually wake up believing I was serious.
He was certainly not happy. I mean to be honest, I didn’t want to wake him up but what was my choice? I had reached the point of being able to lay another hour awake feeling like I was in a hectic coffin.
I had already started packing my things and Ryan looked miserable. I apologised profusely and said he could stay and I meet him at the truck in the morning.
But he said it was fine and packed up his things. We got out of the tent and packed it up, which proved difficult in the gusting winds. We didn’t really care, as long as it was packed away it was good enough.
It was 4am and the twilight in the north and the eerie clouds which had consumed Paddy Peak made for a creepy morning hike. We hiked down and I told Ryan I’m sorry (for the 100th time). He held my hand and said it’s ok but we need to work on your claustrophobia. We grabbed my hand and we walked down.
We followed the road down very slowly as the light made it difficult to gauge the loose rocks. But the views were incredible. As we arrived at the truck the sky had turned yellow with tabs of orange. It was time to drive down the road we came up.
We arrived at some of the steeper bits and Ryan remarked “Wow, how the hell did I get up this”.
A bit disconcerting. I was so exhausted my brain couldn’t handle most of it and each time the truck would tip I would wince and close my eyes.
We got to a section of clay rocks “Oh fuck the brakes locked, yep there we go”. My face probably looked like a stunned kangaroo in headlights realising its imminent death. Ryan looked at me as we passed the section and burst out laughing. “It’s ok, we made it, maybe I shouldn’t say this stuff out loud”. I nodded my head white as a sheet.
We made it back to the South Klondike Highway and the road seemed like puffy clouds as we drove North back home to Whitehorse. The sunrise had burst above the mountains.
We drove back to Whitehorse and I was pretty thankful to have a guy in my life ok to be woken up at 3:30am, pack up a tent and hike in the dark because I couldn’t sleep.
As they say about relationships, it's not how you handle the good times together but the bad times and what you do to recover from the hurdles in life.