October 16, 2019
Is anyone really surprised that I took a zero? I really only have two more chances for zeroes before this hike is over. Hence, I might as well take them while I can – before the BIG zero.
Jetpack hiked out at 7 am with a 30 mile day in mind, and Swift started driving back to California around 9:30 am. Having Swift with us in Grants was trail magical in itself. Not only was it wonderful just to be in her company again, but she was truly eager to help and assist us in any way she could – and she did!
Everything from: shuttles to and from the trailhead… to running errands… to driving to restaurants… to providing food and drink that she had leftover from her own successful thru-hike. We called her “Little Saint Swifty.” Or at least I did. I believe I gave her about a dozen pet trail-names/nicknames during the time we hiked together. I think all of the long-trail veterans (of our mostly women crew) took her under their wings. She did amazingly in keeping up with us, as well as always staying on the bright side of things. She has all of her future thru-hikes already planned, and I look forward to watching her crush them all!
After Swift left, I was faced with the decision to hike out or stay another evening. I needed to do some blog work, photo uploads, and some extra writing, so a zero looked attractive. It only piles up on trail, and I’ve been so exhausted at night lately. I’m not getting all the writing finished that I wanted to… because I just keep falling asleep in the middle of journaling.
Also, I’m not sure if this is apparent, but I am an introvert. Actually, sort of an extroverted-introvert under the right circumstances. What I’m getting at is… although yesterday was a nearo that was basically a zero, it didn’t feel like a zero to me. Even though less than 2 hours of the day was spent hiking, the rest of it was spent running errands, doing chores, and interacting with people. While I ultimately love these activities, they do not “recharge” me. They slowly drain me to the point of needing more rest. It’s not an aging thing – because I’ve been like this since I was a teenager. I could hang out with friends for just so long, and then I needed some alone time. I’ve been needing that alone time more and more as this hike draws to a close, and the accumulated fatigue is at its highest levels.
Did Someone Say Tired?
Speaking of accumulated fatigue… I can feel it. I still feel incredibly strong, both mentally and physically, but the routine is grinding on me. As I’ve said in the past, long distance hiking is an extremely repetitive task. I love it, but after months of working towards a specific end-goal, you start to get restless for the payoff – that feeling of accomplishment. Or at least I do. Over time, a weariness can grow: I tire of constantly packing and unpacking my bag multiple times a day; and I’m tired of trying to not be bored to death with the foods I eat daily; and I’m tired of always being hungry and gauging how much food I need; and I’m tired of rationing water and always looking ahead for where the next drink will be; and I’m tired of doing the math on how far to the next town – and estimating how long it will take me based on the terrain and other factors; and I’m tired of always checking the weather; and I’m tired of always needing more and more miles; and I’m tired of being cold; and I’m tired of not seeing the people I love when I want to see them; and I’m tired of being tired all the time! And what’s more… I know that three days after I finish this hike, I’m going to miss ALL of those things so much – it hurts.
What I don’t tire of? Being somewhere new every day. Being around the people I share this struggle with. Getting high on my own supply of endorphins. Meeting amazing people along the way. Getting a hot meal after 4 or 5 days of eating gummy worms. Working through the mental and physical obstacles. The solitude. The constant personal growth. The moments of seemingly unlimited free time to pursue thoughts, information, wisdom, self improvement, or what have you…
As the last couple weeks of this hike unwinds, it’s very important that I don’t slack on the writing. These are normally the most introspective days of a long hike, and I don’t want to miss capturing anything in the moment.
I’m hitting the trail tomorrow morning, but unfortunately it’s about 30 miles of paved highway walking. Probably the biggest downer to New Mexico (other than the water situation) is the road walking. Oh well.
You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to Boundlessroamad.com