It’s a Mental Game
My Body – My Car
I have come to realize that my body is like a machine. As I was hiking in sheer pain yesterday, I started comparing it to my car. My car can run with a little shimmer or shake, it can even run on empty for a short bit. It might not ride as smooth as a new car, but it runs.
That is the way of the AT. At mile 150 everyone’s so-called “Car” may not be riding as smooth as it could be. I have aches and pains that I didn’t know could exist. One night, after a 16-mile day, I laid down and recognized my whole body was pulsing with pain. Pushing myself when I physically think it’s not possible, that’s what every hiker is experiencing.
It’s a constant battle to know when to stop and when to go. Resting when my body shuts down with a so-called “flat tire” is my wisdom. I then resort to a “24-hour zero day.” It’s the mechanic I cherish. During this time, I put extra fuel in my tank, oil a few squeaky spots, and get excited to start hiking again.
Hiking with Hardware
Everyone out here has their so-called “game face” on. I particularly enjoyed chatting with Renaissance Man. He has served and risked his life for our freedom. He is hiking with a plate in his leg and a few more pieces of hardware. I look at him and think two things. First, I pray that he will be able to continue despite past injuries. Second, I receive a bit of, “Well if he can do it, I can do it” attitude.
It Is a Mental Game: Weather and Critters
Every step is crucial. The wrong placement of my next step could cause an injury which is never good. I have currently walked through snow, ice, slippery leaves, rain, and of course beautiful sunshine.
I like to hike on miserable days because it makes the nice warm days that much nicer.
Therefore, I compare it to going to work in my “normal” off-trail life. Some days I feel like working and some days I don’t. Usually, if I go to work on my yucky days, my good days feel like a million bucks. Currently, I’ll hike through whatever God decides to give the trail.
I have noticed that the trail is starting to wake up after a long winter. It brought thoughts of warm days ahead when I saw my first forget-me-not peaking through the cold soil. The bluish-purple tint of the blossom made me smile in my heart. I have to mention the buttercups as well. The yellow sweet blossoms are so cute. It took me back to my sister babysitting our daughter, she would call her “Buttercup.”
The critters are awakening too. The coyotes howling at night remind me of being at home in Maine. I love the furry critters but the snakes and salamanders that have decided to move, always catch me off guard. I have gotten used to keeping my eyes peeled for slithering movement, as well as tapping my hiking pole ahead of me. I’m sure by the end of this trek, they too will be my friends.
As I stated above, it’s a mental game, it’s all about how I choose to look at all situations.
Today is a well-deserved zero day. I will spend it mentally preparing, letting my body rest, and thanking God for healing my aches and pains. I will load up on food, hydrate, and not move. With this, I believe I will be ready for the trail in 24. This will be my go-to verse as I lay and rest. Thank you to my family and friends who are continuously praying for me.
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I hope you know what an encouragement it is to read your posts and to hear about your adventures, your insight, your optimism rising out of the cold, unpredictable conditions of trail life.
You continue to inspire through your courage, and your kindness. Your writing is authentic and so “you”. Keep it up. Relish those zero and “nero” days as you gauge your fuel level.
May the trail magic be plentiful and the bears and snakes, less so.
We love you and continue to surround you with prayers of protection and encouragement. You inspire us to keep moving forward, embracing the day with all its twists and turns, ups and downs, difficulties and pleasantries. Whether it is sunny or cold, wet or radiant—we rely on Him to direct our steps. He provides everything we need …2 Peter 1:3-11
I LOVE to see an email marked The Trek in my inbox! When all my other emails have been dealt with I go back and read it last so I can enjoy your news. Thanks for sharing; for keeping us “on the trail”. Prayers for you daily.
Hope you publish these entries after you finish this challenge! Incredible reads, although I hear so much voice in your pains. So proud of you! Prayers 🙏 sent your way!
Having only hiked portions of the AT in Pennsylvania New York and New Jersey. I am enjoying reading or your travels. My fondest wish has always been to do a they hike. And perhaps once I retire I will pursue that goal. Stay safe and keep on trekking.
I like your choice of scripture for your mental game on the trail. I am planning a through hike in 4 years and I like to walk the trail through surrogates until then. Keep posting!