A Low Point – Feeling Comfort in Discomfort

I glanced down at my watch to check my mileage; seven miles. The snowy footpath in front of me was only visible for a few yards before it wrapped up and around a patch of small evergreens. I took a deep breath, in and out. I felt the cold whip my face while my sweat-soaked clothes absorbed more of my body heat. I looked down at the clumps of ice that had formed where my gaiters attach to my boots, and then I kept moving. I planted one foot in front of the other until I reached the summit of Redfield Mountain. There I stood, on top of my fourth Adirondack High Peak in two days, exhausted. No view was waiting there for me, only the satisfaction of reaching my 20th winter 46er (the 46ers are the 46 highest peaks in the Adirondack Park in upstate NY). And yet, I felt horrible. I was outside in the cold for two days, my feet hurt from my snowshoes, and my sweaty clothes irritated me from head to toe. I was uncomfortable. At that moment I smiled, knowing I had brought the discomfort upon myself. I was proud knowing that I could push myself through discomfort and I let it fuel my fire. I descended Redfield and hit one more peak before completing my 17-mile day. It was a long, cold day that tested my will, but I had done it.

Snowy winter trail.

On my two-day trip into the Adirondack wilderness, I covered 33 miles. My first winter overnight backpacking trip was a success. I look back on that moment I had on top of Redfield. Feelings of weakness swirled around my head. I embraced the doubt that crept in when I felt uncomfortable and used it to keep moving forward. On the AT I am going to feel low and fill my head with doubt. In those moments I will have something to give me the strength to reach Mount Katahdin. I have moments like the one on top of Redfield to look back on and remind me what I am capable of.

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