Lessons were learned. Painfully!
I Tend to Learn Lessons the Hard Way.
Whether on the trail or in the city it seems I always had to have a hard shake about in order to learn my lessons. What I should or shouldn’t do or if I even should. All this circular thinking often times causes me to freeze up and then I tend to make poor decisions. Eight months ago that would have consisted of shutting down and simply grabbing the first adult beverage and saying, what does it even matter? Lessons were learned.
Now that I have a bit of sobriety under the belt, I feel I have to learn all sorts of things over again. Not all of it pleasant. What’s more, sometimes it can seem overwhelmingly ignorant the amount of trials I go through when I feel I should really know better.
Lack of Water
The stuff of life. Water is of upmost importance on the trail. I KNOW THIS! So it seems pretty silly to walk out of a town and not refill my water supply. Or to run out twice, both times two miles from my destination.
The first time was at the beginning of my adventure. I took the last sip of that precious liquid I had and immediately thought I was going to die of thirst. As I hiked on, panic seeping into my search for any stream, puddle, or leaf bearing any amount of water in its folds I thought. I thought this will NEVER happen again. I will NEVER think of how much water could a snail possibly carry in its tiny body… again. Or if iodine could kill bad stuff in urine to make it digestible… again. But I did …again.
When I came out of Hot Springs I didn’t even think to fill my water supply. Well, I did give it a thought but had forgotten until I was already up and out of town and over the first mountain. Internally I am slapping myself on the forehead calling myself some pretty inventive words. I was going uphill so it was a motivator for some interesting bit of terminology. Needless to say water is important to have at all times.
Trail Weather Trials
When on the AT the weather will change without you even noticing. One moment it is the most beautiful of any God given day and then suddenly its pissin rain and wind from all directions.
Big Bald – Mile 326.2
I climb to the top of Big Bald and I am glad I didn’t take the bypass. There have been a few hikers who had said it was a difficult hike and truly it wasn’t anything a thru-hiker hadn’t done before. Really it was enjoyable especially with my full water supply.
I reached the summit and threw in a wad of chew as I set up camp thinking of all the most interesting retorts I would have at the ready if any Wolf Laurel Security staff would try to turn me away from camping there that night. Feeling pretty proud and a bit of a know it all I proceeded to take a little nap. I was away from the black flys snug in my tent. Just moments later I heard a loud bolt of lightening far off in the distance and peeked out my tent opening to find that there indeed was a storm approaching. I stood, dumbly wondering what, oh, what will I ever do? Maybe I can just hide in my tent and hope for the best? So I tried that.
Let’s just say you can’t hide from tent lifting winds and lighting on the top of a bald. Yet still, I tried to hold out. Until my poor tent folded into a burrito over me. Realizing a little late I had made a horrible decision, I quickly got out of my tent and had to sit on it until I was able to hurriedly ram it and all gear into my pack and run down the lovely Big Bald, tail betwixt the legs.
Out here on the AT I meet a few people who actually seem to know what they are talking about. I made the mistake a couple of times, only a couple of times mind you, of thinking I knew better. After a while you can start to tell who is talking out of their butts and who has had some years of experience on not only this trail but many others as well. I will always suggest listening to them. If someone says, you may need a little bit more water then what your carrying or certain spots get a little windy so you might not won’t to be there when it happens, listen. What you do with that knowledge is always up to you of course.
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