Continental Divide Trail – Day 47


Zero Day

I had every intention of hiking out today and fading back into the Montana/Idaho back country by myself, once again. However that’s not how it played out. While on my way to the Silver Dollar for lunch, a white pickup pulled over and out hopped the group I’d left at the start of the original road walk, minus one.

Funny enough, they all ended up hiking a crazy amount of service roads after their hitch into the town of Wisdom, then hiking a good portion of the trail that wasn’t closed. In the end, they actually wound up hiking more miles than they would have if the trail hadn’t been closed. None of it had been planned; it sort of just played out that way. If I’d known they would have ended up hiking so much of the trail, I probably would have opted to go their way. Oh well, there was no way to predict whether the fire would expand or stay contained, but in the end it was kept under control.

After having lunch with the group, I was still resolved to hike on, but Funny Bone talked me out of it. He knew I’d been hiking and camping alone for weeks and convinced me to be social and hike out with them tomorrow. So the day became a zero, and an enjoyable one at that.

I’m hiking out tomorrow no matter what. It’s over 100 miles to the next town of Lima, and it’s supposedly one of the toughest stretches in all of Montana. We’ll see how this group thing goes…

On another note, I have some pretty incredible news; but first, some back story. Every year that I find myself on trail for my birthday (August 24th), I challenge myself with a 24 hour hike (No matter where I am) to see how far I can get. It’s always in good fun, and although I’ve never ended up hiking the full 24 hours (yet), I’ve managed to set a personal record of 54.5 miles over the course of about 19 hours. This was last year on the Pacific Crest Trail.

My girlfriend Jessica (trail name Dixie/Homemade wanderlust) is currently thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year. She expressed an interest in attempting a 24 hour hike as well. Not as a birthday celebration, but just for fun to test herself and for friendly competition to me. Well she made her attempt yesterday through today and knocked down an incredible 62, yes, SIXTY TWO miles in a full 24 hours! She blew my record away, and I couldn’t be more proud! Does my ego feel bruised to get thrashed by a girl? Not even a little bit. Do I want to attempt to beat her new record this year? Oh, absolutely! To be able to have healthy competition like this with your significant other is incredible; and to know I’m with someone who’s capable of such feats is amazing! Challenging each other in ways that drive us both to be better/stronger human beings. I don’t think it will ever end until we both set a personal record together. I don’t think either of us would have it any other way. We are both “Type A’s,” but we’re not the over the top, in your face, extreme Type A’s. We keep it healthy and friendly, and there’s never hard feelings; only strives to improve ourselves, as well as each other.

I used to have a very aggressive “Type A” personality when I was younger. I constantly measured myself against others and their accomplishments. I turned everything into a competition and beat myself up when I didn’t come out on top. Physically, it kept me very active, healthy, and constantly improving. Mentally, it was very unhealthy for me (personally). I was always comparing myself to others and trying to turn the dumbest things into a competition. Looking back, I was never really that happy when I was twisting every little thing into a method of competing with others for my own personal satisfaction and “ego stroking.” Sure there were positive benefits to be gained from that sort of competitiveness, but they were mostly only physical. My personal growth was stunted throughout that time because I focused more on others than I did myself; and when I did focus on myself, it was obsessive and always for the wrong reasons.

Nowadays I still have a “Type A” personality, but its been toned way down. Rather than compare myself to others, I now prefer to measure myself against the Kyle of yesterday. If they cloned me today, could I kick my clone’s ass tomorrow? Always strive to be better and stronger than the “you”of yesterday. I don’t play a professional sport, so there is no one I am competing with; I only try to improve against myself.

So congratulations Jessica on setting an amazing new personal record while stomping mine into the ground! You’ve set the bar very high, and now I’m coming for it to raise it yet again 😉  I know if I do, you’ll turn around and best it; so here’s looking forward to the day we get to set one together!


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