Trail Trauma and Trials
I Flirted with the idea of getting off Trail.
But boy do I feel rejected.
Hi! It’s me Hiccups, I’ve landed myself back in the solo female hiker category once again. I took a leave of absence from the blogging world, unsure how I wanted to move forward, or if I’d even move forward at all.
The last update I gave, was fifty miles into the trail and nothing seemed terrible just yet. We were rolling out big days continuing to feel amazing. Then, I had my first trail period, man was that shit miserable. Let me paint it for you, around noon on a hot Deseret day, I started to show signs of heat exhaustion, and as it set in, I thought I was down for the count. An hour after the first set of symptoms I finally went to pee and realized… it’s not heat exhaustion, just have the wonderful gift of being a woman in this world. I looked down and saw blood, confirming that my symptoms were all correlated with the menstruations station. TMI I know but you wanted to read about my experience.
As my body expelled its eggs,
we slowed down a bit due to my lack of energy however, were still putting in big days. Averaging somewhere around twenty-four miles most days. The desert really showed us what the phrase hot Deseret sun truly means!
I put my predicament aside and made some friends along the trail! At the time most of these folks did not have trail names (or nicknames on trail for those non-hiker friends). Known now as Godfather, was one of the few we met together! Crammed into the little shade the afternoon had to offer, close to one of the also few water sources the trail provided us, we chatted about gear and pre-trail life among other things, his shroom shorts and excellent personality stuck out among the hiking community and I knew we would end up being friends. Earlier that same day Kitty Titty and I also met White Rabbit and Honey Legs. Honey Legs had hiked the AT in the same year as us, 2018! The last good year as I like to joke!
we lost some of our initial hiking friends like Honey bee, Jim, Friesh, and Din (If those are spelled wrong the only one to blame is Kitty). Those friends had me thinking about trail familes. The thought of having a trail family always sounds appealing until you really get down to the details. I live in the details, so naturally I find myself not intertwined in a trail family. The amount of compromise and constant conversation with each other that goes into deciding each and every day sounds exhausting. I am not dissing trail families, I definitely see the appeal so do not misread my decision to hike without one for distain. I would prefer to make last minute decisions based on how my body feels which is harder to do as a family.
Around mile 120 things started to get complicated. My hiking partner as formerly mentioned, Kitty Titty, and I began arguing constantly. Tensions were rising, but conversations were becoming shorter and shorter. I think Idyllwild was the last town that felt normal and then… I was
Deserted in the Deseret.
Well, not actually left in the middle of nowhere. But it felt like it. This is the reason for my leave of absence, and it felt as if the world just kept piling and packing it in. Sitting in a random library in a random town, I am finally deciding to pick the keyboard and tell my story, even if it is a little lagged from where I really am physically, mentally and what nots. My game plan is to write one blog a week from here on. So here it is.
The night before San Jacinto mile 140ish I believe, the love of my life (in my opinion) brought up a tough conversation. He wanted to make his own decisions on trail, but how do you achieve that when you share a tent and a stove. The short answer, you don’t. That meant I’d be hiking alone, or not at all. Not a decision I had thought I needed to make or even think about. Kitty was fully ready to jump out of the tent if necessary. The only question I could repeat in my head; How does someone who claims they love you decide to leave so easily.
Since we shared a tent from the start we hiked the rest of the week to Big Bear, CA together. Ordering new gear along the way to replace the original three person tent we split the weight for. Every time I thought the tears would subside, I felt the metaphorical knife sink deeper, having him hike behind me was just a constant reminder of our conversation of destruction.
Each day closer to Big Bear
became harder and harder to cope with the fact that we would not be hiking together. I felt betrayed by the one person I trusted most. I know the speech about being young and having so much life ahead of you, but that does not take away the pain and loneliness I felt every morning, afternoon and night. As much as he made the decision to leave, I made the decision to officially end the relationship. Never been one for waiting around on someone else’s time, and waiting for a break up later on down the trail just seemed inevitable. However, the romantic in me shriveled inside at the thought of being alone without my best friend. Alone on a trail that him and I were supposed to do together.
Flipping the switch just a tad, as much as the break up was almost the reason I got off trail it was not the defining reason. Mentally, I started to understand the fastest place to heal was out here. Even though my body had other plans for me. I was unable to keep food down, my appetite was non existent, both creating a wedge in my ability to hike strong. My brain kept repeating questions of if I would stay on trail and how I would stay on trail if I could not eat.
I wish I could update past trail all in one blog but that would take forrrrevvverr and “cliff hangers” are keep ya coming I guess. My appetite problems persist so they get there own post, stay tuned next week.
That’s all for now folks.
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