Yes, Some Days I Want to Quit
From My Journal on Sunday, May 9
There are some days when I really consider quitting this thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, but today is not that day. The sun shining as I climbed Hump Mountain this morning, I breathed in the brisk winds and sang out loud to Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic playing in my headphones. The song particularly touched me today, because last night as I lay in my tent, tears welled in my eyes as I thought about being at home on the couch clean and warm, snuggling with my husband on one side and my dog on the other. Yesterday was a shit show of a day.
Yesterday I awoke to the sound of crazy wind. Hesitant to get out of my sleeping bag and tent, I knew I needed to get moving. I quickly ate a bar and committed to eating breakfast at Roan High Knob Shelter. Trying to take down my snow-covered tent, it flew like a flag in the gale. Shoving it in my backpack along with the rest of my equipment, I started hiking as fast as possible; which was not very, as the mountain was slippery with mud. Arriving at the shelter, another hiker told me “it’s all yours” as he left. The shelter area somehow reminded me of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow movie I watched as a kid. I sat in the dark, 30-degree cabin (I know because there was a thermometer in there) with my headlamp on, and made oatmeal and coffee.
“Alright- you’ve got this,” I said to myself and headed down the mountain towards Carver’s Gap.
And that’s when I fell and ate it, hard. Laying on the ground like a turtle with my backpack on, I rolled over to assess the damage. I had a hole in my pants and shoes, but I think the Cho-Pat brace that I’ve been wearing on my left knee really saved me from anything more than taking a little skin and causing an ugly bruise.
I thought to myself, “you’ve had worse”.
I could walk without a problem so I collected myself, dusted off, and kept moving.
I was happy to reach Carver’s Gap where there was an actual porta-potty-type restroom and lots of tourists. I convinced a family to take my bag of trash for me, and even received a bag of trail magic from a former thru-hiker as I climbed Jane Bald.
“It’s a bit windy up there,” she said.
And yes, it was “a bit windy up there.” Gusts of wind almost knocked me off of my feet. I put my head down and climbed, and that must be how I missed the turn to continue on the AT and climbed all the way up to Grassy Ridge Bald (elevation 6164 ft). I knew something wasn’t right when I got up there.
Interrupting two lovers embracing, I asked them if I had missed the AT trail, and they responded that I had indeed missed it almost a mile back.
For the rest of the day, I was mad at myself. I was mad at the weather, mad at the terrain, and just plain mad. Arriving at the shelter I didn’t even cook dinner that night. I ate peanut butter in a tortilla and went straight to my tent. With no cell coverage, I sent Greg a text through my Garmin inReach that I missed him, and went straight to sleep.
I slept like a rock last night and today is calm and sunny. Singing to Alanis has me thinking about the irony of the trail, so I’ve spent most of the day entertaining myself by changing up the lyrics to fit the trail, Luna style:
“It’s like elevation loses and gains
It’s the free burger that made your belly ache
You have great directions, but still went the wrong way
And the next mountain gets even bigger.”
Lol- something to do 🙂
It Doesn’t Always Get Worse
When I was running ultra races, my coach Mike used to say “Remember- it doesn’t always get worse.”
That has certainly been the case for me on this trip. The ups and downs are both figurative and literal, but it seems that for every hardship, the trail rewards you in some way. Sometimes you meet a new friend to talk to, or you come to a group and there is trail magic waiting for you. Often you are gifted an amazing view.
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