The Pain Is Ever So Real
I’ve been in a lot of pain recently.
Yeah, my knees are sore and stiff and I can’t bend them properly, and yeah the chafing in my chest area is unbelievably gross, and sometimes I step on a rock the wrong way, but I’ve also found that there is more than one type of pain on the AT.
There is the pain of my first sixteen mile day, totally draining my energy and my mental will so that I’m zombie like when I reach camp. There is the pain of waking up to another torrential downpour. These pains I signed up for, though, and wouldn’t trade for anything. They are challenges and obstacles that I’m learning to adapt to and grow from, and on a nice sunny day with a clear view I can take in all the joy and freedom of living my life on the Trail.
It’s the unexpected pain that I don’t welcome. Last week I had to say goodbye to my brother, my hiking partner and trail buddy, as he made the decision to sort some things out for himself. He’s supporting me still in my hike and I hope to see him often, but the emotional loss is still there.
Through this pain, though, I’ve learned that the trail provides. After saying goodbye to my brother and preparing to cross into North Carolina as a solo hiker, I found a new trail buddy and friend in Kat. We have so much in common that I feel like I’ve known her for so long and she’s a fantastically talented photographer to boot!
While we’ve been nerding out on the trail (and in Wal-Mart), we’ve met so many interesting people and dogs. Lots of dogs. Blue, Bandit, Luna, Mooch and Camp Diva, Star, and Harold/Darryl/Little Ass Kicker (who has taken up residence at Top of Georgia Hostel for the time being). These dogs and their owners give me life.
Now I’m in Franklin enjoying the hospitality of Dr. Bright Eyes (or Firelord) and enjoying the company of her dogs as well. Also, no trail name yet….can you find my name on the Outdoor 76 banner? Someone suggested “Errant” as a play on Erin T.
There’s plenty of more pain to come on the Trail, I know, but I’m a bit of a masochist and I say bring it on.
The trail is not immune to the trials and tribulations of real life. It IS real life! There will be ups and downs and good days and bad days and unexpected hurdles to climb. I just know that no matter where I am in life I’d face similar problems in magnitude. The difference is that out in the woods, in good company, and yes even in the rain, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. When the going gets tough there’s always another dog to love on.
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