Postholes: bane of the spring snow traveler, enemy of ACLs and MCLs alike, purveyor of faceplants, thief of joy. Faced with enduring multiple miles of postholes, even the most joyful mountain trekker can become a snarling, moody curmudgeon. Even snowshoes, the sworn enemy of postholes, can be rendered useless when postholes are at their most potent.

Luckily, we here at Elevation Outdoors have recognized postholing not as an event but as a syndrome. In order to confront the reality of postholing, we present the Four Stages of Postholing: A Guide to Accepting Postholes in Your Life.

Stage 1: Denial

This stage is characterized by irrational logic, faulty scientific observation and the naive belief that postholes are isolated incidents. There are still some remnants of happiness at the intial novelty. For stage one subjects, a simple step off to the side seems like a convincing solution to avoid what is perceived as a one-time event. In addition, the famous “this is only for a short section” reasoning is  merely the beginning of the process of self-delusion. “Postholes are only for the portly or those with very small feet; it won’t happen to me” is a common refrain. Heart rate begins to rise, nervous laughter ensues and stage 1 begins its metamorphosis into stage 2.

Stage 2: Anger

Stage 2 is evident by flustered frowns accented by outbursts of profanity. Soft vocalizations grow to feverishly loud declarations as the subject delves into the deepest part of stage 2 — as well as the deepest part of the postholes. Anger is amplified by fumbling attempts to extract feet from the puncture wells and can reach its apex when leaning into the snow for potentially advantageous leverage results in the dramatic “full body posthole”. Subject is now irrational and begins to displace their focus to visions of a warm bed and snuggly blankets. Observers should be weary of thrown objects, which cause subjects to achieve their highest levels of vitriol as they must posthole over to retrieve said objects. At this point, even the suggestion of soothing ideas such as kittens in a cup do nothing to quell the boiling rage.

Stage 3: Sadness

Anger begins to give way to sorrow, as subjects beging to wonder what they did to deserve such a callous fate. Pleas are made to the universe for just five feet of unbroken snow — only to be met with more postholes. Shoulders are now slumped and the joyless aura of sadness becomes infectious to nearby companions. Weeping may be present along with vows to never, ever hike again. Due to the composure of unsolidated snow, attempting to hug the woeful postholer may only result in more injury and is not advised.

Stage 4: Acceptance

At this point, the subject is completely broken. All pleasure has been purged from the body and only the fizzling pain of hyper extended knees and searing quads is relayed to the brain. Subject will become eerily silent as the reality of slow-moving and painful progress becomes evident. It is wise not to attempt to humor the subject as they may catapault back to stage 2 and bring potential harm to those trying to make light of the situation. Thoughts of beds, meals and beer are replaced with internal inquries regarding the strength of one’s health insurance.

Once acceptance has been reached, continue along until on new terrain or subject lays down in the fetal position and waits for months of solar radiation to melt away the snaring snowpack. Our research has shown that hitting subject with a snowball at this time is highly dangerous, though it may result in a semi-euphoric state that temporarily renders the subject immune to postholing until such time that they have driven your face 5 to 13 inches into the snow.

Postholes are a part of life and we hope our knowledge will help you in all your spring posthole therapy. Learning to live with postholes is a healthy and normal way to make sure your orthopedist has a wonderful vacation to Cancun every year.

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