When the “Q” word rears its ugly head…
For me personally, the “Q” word is more of a fantasy than an option. Probably at least once a day, depending on the day, I, and other thruhikers I’ve talked to, have the thought drift through our minds: “I could just go home.”
Not that we would. Like I said, it is more of a I-say-this-but-wouldn’t-do-it type thing.
For me, there was only one time I seriously thought about quitting. Believe it or not, it wasn’t on Mt Washington when I was scared for my life; it wasn’t even on that miserable day in Vermont when I thought I was going to die of hypothermia. It was the second week of my hike when I was suffering through foot pain and questioning if I could live with the pain and keep hiking. Maybe my feet just aren’t cut out for a thruhike. It would have been a reasonable excuse. But I took a zero day, bought insoles for my boots, and got back on the Trail.
So I finished the northern half of the Trail. My feet never stopped hurting, but I learned to hike through it. Everyone else’s feet hurt, too, so it basically became a nonissue.
I spent about 10 days at home, my version of hitting the reset button before starting the southern half of the Trail. Yes, I needed it. Yes, I knew it was dangerous.
I hit the trail again and this entire week has been tough emotionally. I had gotten used to the comforts of home again. Now I am back to worrying about my elderly dogs everyday, hoping the next water source isn’t dry, going to the bathroom in the woods, and waking up to mice trying to crawl over me in the night.
Then my leg started to bother me, so I took a day to rest it, then hiked the next day. Only to have my leg complain again. This is when the “Q” word rears its ugly head: when a part of my body decides it doesn’t want to hike anymore and consequently I am in perpetual pain.
I hiked about 3 miles today to a point where I had cell phone service so that I could call my parents. It is good to know that even though I am 25, I can still call home crying because I don’t know what to do. I will go to a clinic tonight to hopefully get some help and will spend the next couple of days resting. Hence you get another blog post!
This morning, though, as I was hiking up a mountain to get phone service, the view opened up. It was gorgeous weather: sunny, breezy and 70 degrees. The rolling green peaks and the valleys were bathed half in sun and half in shade. The dramatic clouds left over from last night’s storm were still lined up on the horizon. And in that moment, I knew I couldn’t quit. There is still so much beauty to see in the four states I have left: Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. In that moment, I knew I wanted to see more.
So please keep the prayers and good thoughts coming as I try to figure out my rebellious leg!
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