The Trail Provides
You hear the phrase “the trail provides” a lot when you start researching a long trail. I have to admit I have always been skeptical of this phrase. People talk about it like a mystical force giving you whatever you need to finish the trail. It seemed a little far-fetched to me.
However, I have definitely been proven wrong. Sometimes the trail provides in obvious ways, and at other times more subtle like an umbrella during a hot stretch. I went through a stretch that was really demoralizing. I was in constant foot pain and worried about increased trouble later. I have had plantar fasciitis in the past and recognized the tearing sensation along my arch. It got bad enough that I took an extra break day and planned to slow my pace for a week.
But the day I was leaving town, I met a PT who specializes in foot and ankle issues. She took the time to explain the causes of this issue and gave me some pointers and tricks to help. After just two days of focusing on her tips, I was back up to my previous mileage and feeling like my feet were doing a lot better.
This trail has also gifted me with peace and quiet. 2020 was a rough year for everyone, and most had it worse than me. But I don’t think I realized how badly I needed a break.
On trail I can be social when I want and spend an entire day mostly to myself as well. There is nothing more peaceful than watching the clouds roll through the mountains or a bobcat chase a squirrel. This peace is not a surprise, as nature has always been home. But it seems the trail has subtly helped remind me that the more stress I feel, the more time outside is needed. So not only does the trail provide the basics you need, but it also helps remind you of the lessons we tend to forget when busy. Hopefully, I can bring some of this hiker trash life home.
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