September 8, 2019
Zero Day Due to Weather
Today ended up being a zero day. Even though it was warranted, I still feel anxious. This is the same town I left back in 2017. Even though I’ve now technically hiked a little further than I did back then, I still feel as if I’m in the same spot – and it’s driving me a bit crazy.
I don’t have much to say about the happenings of today, so I suppose I’ll talk about where my head is at. I haven’t really discussed that subject at all on this hike.
As far as my mental health, morale, motivation, and focus goes… I feel 100%. There’s no questioning what I’m doing. There’s no worrying about it getting too hard or un-enjoyable. I didn’t finish this hike last time due to snow shutting down the actual trail. If I’d wanted to, I could have walked roads and lower paths to get around it and still finished the trail with connected footprints. It wasn’t that this option was too difficult, it was simply that I wasn’t going to settle for missing that much trail (around 500 miles) . I would have felt like a fraud calling myself a thru-hiker of the CDT, let alone a Triple Crowner.
In a sense, I quit the trail in 2017. In a more accurate depiction (since the trail was not hike-able) – I quit the road. And in an even more accurate sense… I didn’t quit, but instead cut my losses due to extenuating circumstances. Those circumstances related to not being able to finish the trail the way I personally needed to finish it.
Back to present day. While my body and mind are extremely exhausted from the relentless grind and pace of this adventure (with around 1,400 miles still left) – it doesn’t weigh on me in a way that makes me question whether I’ll finish, quit, give up, or what have you. Those aren’t factors. They’re just not. Death, severe injury, and super freakish long lasting weather are the only things that can stop me. That’s it. Nothing that is within my control will keep me from accomplishing this goal.
You may think I’ve said the above statements out of pure stubbornness, and you’d be partly correct. The other part is… I f***ing love this! I’m not out here for glory, or bragging rights, or ego, or for a resume. I’m out here because I love this lifestyle. I live this lifestyle, bleed this lifestyle, breathe this lifestyle. As I’ve said before: I love to hate it, and I hate to love it… but at the end of the day, I have nothing but love left over for what goes on out here. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Some are only out here to fill a check box. Some were just trying something new that they thought they might like. Many of those people have slowly whittled away and left the trail. These aren’t things I’m worried about. I already know why I’m out here, and my reasons aren’t superficial. And it’s also not exclusively to have a “good time.” The incidence of “not having a good time” isn’t going to be a factor in knocking me off trail.
I’m here for the adventure and personal growth. I’m here for what I’m constantly learning about myself, other people, and the world. Also, I’m here for the trial by fire that puts me in touch with feelings, perspectives, and revelations I can’t get any other way. It’s not easy. It’s not always fun. It’s not always beautiful. But, I KNOW if I can persevere and get through all the challenges, then I can reap the harvest of my efforts. And the fruit they bear is oh so sweet!
It’s a Three Step Process:
Firstly, you decide to do an adventure such as this and acquire what you need in order to do so; secondly, you embark and confront the abyss – the one within you, and the ones that life and mother nature set before you; thirdly, you reap the rewards in all their many forms for having confronted so much while learning all the lessons (growing bigger in the bigness of the whole). All of these steps are interconnected, and there are no shortcuts to love and embrace the positive benefits (i.e. the fruits of your labor). Then by default, you must also love and embrace the hardships that delivered you to them. Because without the hardship, you would have nothing, and be nothing more than what you were… or what you had. Don’t shun or take for granted the things in this world that make us better than what we were and are, because sometimes they’re seldom pleasant nor enjoyable.
Anyway, that’s my 5 cents. This perspective applies to anything in life, but I’ve written it to apply more specifically to thru-hiking in this context.
So, my mental condition at the moment in a nutshell is… I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing right now.
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