From Winter to Summer in Two Weeks Time

Two weeks ago I stood freezing in Greenland at a checkpoint of the race I was competing in. I had just watched other skiers pull ahead of me while skiing a loop on a fjord. I became acutely aware that there were only three people behind me, it was 5 p.m., I still had 20 km to camp, and I was staring at a giant climb ahead of me. In that moment I thought of quitting. With a simple wave of my hand I could have been scooped up by a snowmobile and transported to camp, to warm food, and to friends waiting for me. However, an old familiar voice began to whisper, “Don’t quit! You can do this! You’ve pushed through much worse!” Indeed, it was a voice that only comes to talk in my most desperate moments, the voice that calls me Yard Sale and reminds me that quitting is not an option.

So, begrudgingly, I strapped my skis to my pack and climbed the mountain on foot. Once at the top, I got my skis back on and tackled the remaining distance to camp. It was a late night and hunger and exhaustion had long since set in, but skiing by head torch in Greenland was a once in a lifetime experience and the fulfillment of pushing through that wall gave me confidence to handle future challenges.

Fast forward two weeks: skis have been traded out for trail runners, winter clothing for shorts and a T-shirt, and snow for sand. I’m standing at the Southern Terminus of the CDT. Once again I rely on that voice! This time my mind was racing with all the thoughts of the unknown. What lies ahead? Do I have enough water? Can I do this? The voice once again quiets my fears and reminds me that north is the only option. After taking pictures at the terminus I head out. With my pack strapped on my back and my feet moving in time with my poles, I fall into a groove. I am comforted by the familiarity of it all. With each step I feel more assured that I’m on the right journey.

Excitement buzzes through my group as we search for the next marker. We have started the CDT. I let that sink in as the sun grows hotter and the miles slip away. We have 85 miles back to Lordsburg and I’m sure many hurdles to cross to get there.


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