One Step at a Time

How to Describe Week Two?

I had written a post breaking down my days, but it didn’t actually describe what it’s been like. The trail has been throwing things at me so unexpectedly that I’ve been spending most of my time managing those things and trying to understand what’s going on in my head at the same time.

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Without a doubt this trek so far has been the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life, and that includes basic training. I really had no idea the number of ways I would be challenged. I have to admit, when I look around, it seems others are not so challenged, but I know this can’t be true. I know this because when I talk to other people, I’m hiding what’s really going on in my head.

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Whoa! I didn’t Expect That!

  1. The physical challenge – it’s not just the weight either, I didn’t expect that I would be going so slowly, I didn’t expect to get so many blisters, and just when I was getting my legs, my back started giving me problems.
  2. The environment – the sun hasn’t bothered me too much yet, but the wind is another story. It’s something to try and walk when the wind is blowing you off the trail. It was especially challenging, when one night I had to cover my face to sleep through the dust storm in my tent.
  3. The logistics – I’m a planner and I still had no idea how much I would actually have to plan and make decisions while on the trail. Every day and section involves questions about how far can I walk, where can I get water, where will I sleep, how much water do I need to carry, how much food do I need, what is the weather doing?
  4. Inside my head – this was my biggest surprise. I had no idea how much my ego would fight. While I beat the initial, “what am I doing? I’ll never be able to do this,” it morphed into fear and perceived stress about all of the challenges. Fear of being in the middle of nowhere and having my back contract to where I can’t carry my pack or do any camp stuff. Fear of quitting. Fear of judgement. Telling myself I’m too overwhelmed to continue. I know that none of this is based on anything substantial. It’s just my ego’s way of stopping change.

Of course, all of these challenges can be overcome. I see it every day in every hiker that I meet or see. I know the way to do it is to just keep taking the next step. Breaking it down into moments. What am I doing at this moment? What needs to be done at this moment? And eventually, I’ll be on the other side.

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Even with all this going on in my head, I’ve still walked through some amazing landscapes and met a lot of cool people. I even earned my trail name…Rewind, due to the fact that I returned to Warner Springs twice due to my back.

So, here I am in Idyllwild

I’m letting my back rest and recover. I’m feeling good physically and mentally, and I hope to be back on the trail tomorrow, fighting another day for the person I am, not the one my ego wants me to be.

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Comments 3

  • Sara Kerr : May 4th

    Look at how far you’ve gone, physically & mentally, in 2 weeks! You’ve got this!

    Reply
  • Larry Smith : May 4th

    Sounds like you are finding ways to make this happen. If Wrightwood is in your plans call or text us. We have special hiker rates, an on-site no charge laundry facility, and the best AC on the mountain.

    Canyon Creek Inn
    760 249-4800

    Reply
  • Lara Slagle : May 9th

    Annette – Don’t give up…you’ve got this!!! You are an encouragement to many of us women hiker’s and it’s nice to read your blog that isn’t a fluff piece about how perfect the PCT has been for you so far! Even doing the Six Pack of Peaks has been challenging for me and I’m reading your blog very inspired and ready to kick some dirt trail ass!!!
    Lara-Huntington Beach, CA

    Reply

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