Day 143 – When Quitting Sounds Appealing
Today was a weird one, I woke up, still feeling tired, and to be honest my heart just wasn’t in it today. I wouldn’t go so far to say I was experiencing a wavering in my conviction to finish the trail. But I allowed myself to daydream and think about quitting.
Perhaps yesterday’s zero was showing me what could be. Or maybe the trepidation that today’s hike held the steepest 1 mile along the entire AT. But the thought of stopping and not continuing had real appeal today, thoughts that had never happened before.
I got up after a restless night around 7 and everything was a chore. Packing, dressing, walking. Everything hurt. Sometimes in the morning I’ll sing “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. except I’ll change the words to ‘Everything Hurts.’ Today was one of those days.
We got a ride to the trailhead but along the way got some Burger King breakfast croissant sandwiches. My pack felt extra heavy following our resupply. Before starting the uphill climb for the day I ate an apple and a kiwi and drank all my water to cut down to weight to carry. There were points in the initial climb up to Wildcat gondola where the grade was over 40%.
Needless to stay it was slow going. I took a small break at the top on the chair lift for a snack. I listened to more of my audiobook “Dark Age” to pass the time today. One of the silver linings was my new Altra shoes that replaced the Hoka’s that fell apart on me. They had very good traction on the rocks today.
Hot Feet and I discussed our individual workout routines prior to coming out on the trail. We also discussed how we might adjust or change those routines when we head back home. For me, my workout routine was primarily strength training and not much else. When I return home, I’m going to try and be more varied in my physical activity. I’d like to include more zone 2 cardio training, and exercises that focus on speed, power, and plyometrics.
After the ascent up to Wildcat Mountain there was a steep descent down to Carter Notch Hut. I arrived shortly after 3PM. It was sad that the 6 miles took me most of 6 hours to accomplish. Usually I’m moving at 2-2.5 mph, the 1 mph today felt like a snails pace. There was a really inviting lake and very nice hut staff at this final hut in the whites. I almost considered staying for an hour to get another work-for-stay at this hut and enjoying the lake the rest of the day. Alas I couldn’t bring myself to do a 6 mile nearo after yesterday’s zero.
After dipping my feet and cold soaking my shirt, I forced myself to move on. The second half of the day was a little better. The steepest climbs were behind me. All I had was 8 more miles until the end of my day. I caught a nice sunset from Carter Mountain that made me feel a little better about hiking today. My pace hadn’t picked up as quick as I liked however, and with another mile or so left for the day, I had to pull out my headlamp to night hike.
The stealth spot I had intended to stay at proved difficult to locate in the dark. I kept going though, intent on stopping at the first suitable location I could find. Luckily within the next 0.3 miles I found a site that even had good cell service (a rarity in NH thus far). Unlucky for me. I stepped into a giant puddle that got both shoes fairly wet. Fingers crossed they’re relatively dry in the morning.
Tent up, dinner consumed, tomorrow is another day. My downtrodden feelings and fatigue will hopefully be in the past when I wake up. I think I’ll feel motivated knowing there’s only 2, 4k peaks left in NH and I’ll be in Maine before the end of the week.
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