Another Never Again Moment – Masochistic Us

Huaraz, Peru

This is bullshit. We’re so not doing anything like this ever again” – Jack screamed towards the wind.

I hear you… this sucks,” I muttered.

That particular outburst happened when we weren’t even halfway into our 10-day Huayhuash Trek.

Granted, it turned out to be one of the hardest days of the trek: Jack was battling a headache from lack of sleep and altitude – while I was struggling to figure out what to concentrate on: breathing or not shitting my pants.

(Other more intrepid trekkers would quickly pull off the trail and do their business and it’d all be over in 2 minutes. I, on the other hand, have a shy colon.)


All of this while the group was trudging its way up a steep and dusty hill towards one of the many passes we go through on this trek.

Let me tell you a secret…

There’s a story behind every smiling picture and our adventures.

Stories about how much we miss internet and pizzas and how about I’m always the last one in the group struggling to keep up.

We’re really not as hardcore as we’d like to think.

After a particularly wet night, sorting out gear afterwards is always a pain.

We complain and whine our way up every single mountain pass and along every step of dusty and ankle-twisting rock covered trails.

And without fail, during the hardest times when our limits are being pushed, we look at each other and swear, ‘Never again’.

Like when we decided to climb Mt. Whitney in one day (still the hardest thing we both have ever done – mentally and physically). Exhausted beyond what words can convey and still had 8 hours of hiking to go – I thought, ‘Never again.’

Then there was that time we went backpacking in Denali when it was so cold everything we owned stopped working. ‘Never again.’

Taking a siesta break during the Huayhuash Trek

And yet

Despite pledges of living a life of daily video games and Snickers, like a child who never learns that fire burns or jumping off tall things hurt – we keep finding ourselves in these masochistic ventures.

I honestly think it’s because our brains play tricks on us.

As time moves on – the pain fades and all that remains are memories of friendships made and beautiful sceneries.

Playing countless of 'shitheads' during the trip

And that little flicker of pride one feels whenever one finally makes it to the end. Especially if one makes it there after sheer stubbornness and countless of ‘Crap, how did I get myself into this?’ moments.

Like when come down from the karaoke stage (with or without applause) after singing a song you don’t know the lyrics of . Or the rush one feels after careening out of control coming down a ski slope way beyond your grade. Or like when you finally bite the bullet to quit your job to travel the world after saving for years.

It’s an addictive feeling, I’m telling you.

Or maybe we’re just closet masochists – willingly putting ourselves again and again in these ‘never again’ moments.

Either way, now that we’re back in the warm bosom of hostel living (you know, as opposed to tent living) – browsing at the pictures we took during our 10-day Huayhuash trek, we think to ourselves,

“Well, really. Don’t know what we were complaining about. It wasn’t so bad after all.”

How quickly the brain forgets.

Bloody brains.

Ever have a ‘never again’ moments that keep repeating itself?

Coming up next

Our next post will answer questions such as:
What was the hardest days?
What was a typical day is like?
How many times did you end up going #2 in the outdoors?
You talk a lot of bathroom and #2 here. Why?
What was this about being peed by a dog?
And killing a sheep?
Can anybody do the Huayhuash trek?
How did you find the group and the agency?
Tips on Huayhuash Trek?


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19 Replies to “Another Never Again Moment – Masochistic Us”

  1. …man, I've been there (the feeling like you're going to shit your pants every other step). It should be noted that the increase in altitude and drop in air pressure plays all sorts of games with your insides. Lots of farts…

  2. Totally agree with your post! I have the same feeling the first time I trek Huayhuash and…the second one too…hahahhaa. Nice blog!

  3. Wow, that's rough. Never been through anything this crazy, but the jam-packed bus journeys in Laos had me saying 'Never again.' And of course I had to as there aren't any other transportation options there. Luckily I've never been interesting in trekking, and after this article I will definitely never do any kind of trek that is more than 1 day long!

  4. I love the "story behind every smiling picture". That's how I deal with great pictures that make me insanely jealous that I'm not there….I imagine the picture that would have been taken two minutes before. Then I feel a little better.
    You guys seem plenty hard core to me. We're talking hard core crazy right?

  5. Yeah… I stick to my never agains. lol

    After my volcano hike we said never again and have yet to attempt anything like it. More power to you guys. I'm living vicariously through your hiking and pics.

  6. I love the honesty and humour in this post.

    I've definitely had my share of never again moments. I'm not sure if Mike has shared all of them with me, but pretty much everytime I'm halfway up the mountain, heart pounding, panting for breath, with the start of a migraine, usually watching the rest of the group have to stop and wait for me again… I think why do I do this to myself? Never again. Then I reach the summit, rest, start the descent which is soooo much easier, and start planning the next hike we should do… I don't even make it off the damn mountain before my brain resets!

    Maybe we're all just suckers for punishment. 🙂

  7. "We’re really not as hardcore as we’d like to think." hahaha. Love following the posts here. I think it comes down to that you are more hard core than you think and not maniacal, just wanting to take on a challenge and test your selves. Kudos!

  8. Sooo…. maybe all these crazy hikes you've been doing have somehow damaged your brains so you can't remember how horrible they were?

    Just kidding! I don't think your brains are damaged. Well… too much; from my perspective you've got to be frickin' insane to do this 10-day trek! =P

    Can't wait to read your next post.

  9. I remember reading in one of my beginner psychology texts about how people tend to remember the good things about an event (unless it's something really traumatic) rather than the bad things. I often have to remind myself about my bad travel experiences so I don't make the same mistakes over again.

  10. I've definitely had those moments and I don't even climb mountains 😉 You're right though – there is a kind of trade off that happens. And I think the positives almost always outweigh the negatives. It's the bright spots that stick out in our memories. Looking forward to the next post!

  11. I can so relate to this post! I am always the one at the back of the pack, trying to figure out how I got myself into this! I've never done anyting as epic as a 10 day trek in the Andes, but I still have had plenty of "never again" moments…only to find myself online a few days later, looking at climbing Kili or hiking the West Coast Trail, saying to myself "pfft, I could totally do that!"

  12. I couldn't help but think of something I heard once with these same words "As time moves on – the pain fades". Childbirth. I know, really random, but I've heard people say that you forget how terribly painful it is to give birth yet folks do it again and again…

    I suppose you could look at it like your brain helping you to keep doing things that are rewarding yet that are extremely difficult. If you remembered how difficult it was and how you kept saying "never again", then you wouldn't get out there and explore the world, doing the things you'll remember for years to come!

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