What trail or section of a trail is your Kryptonite?
I’ve hiked the 1,079 CDT miles from Southern Idaho/Montana to Canada thru Grizzly country – several hundred miles alone – with grueling elevation gain, tough weather, long distances between towns, and yet I cannot seem to conquer the mostly flat state of New Mexico.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Colorado boy and thrive in the Mountains but not in the Desert.
Maybe it’s the changing times where fires rage and you find solace in the colder climate up north.
Last year the flatness enticed me to go too fast, too soon. Not listening to my body, I barely made it to Lordsburg on two feet as Stress fractures had my legs lock up, my shins swell up, and after 3 nights at the econo lodge, it was clear I was headed home when I could barely walk across the street to Kranberry’s.
This year, I started slower; Making sure to not average more than 15 miles a day for that first week as I got my trail legs under me. Fast forward two weeks and I’m doing 25-27 mile days. I felt like I was at my normal speed and ready to really push my limits.
My girlfriend’s dad said to watch out for an orange monkey as a sign that you need to pack it up and go home. I agreed I would go home if I saw any orange monkeys in the Desert but the only one I saw was the monkey I ripped off my back as I completed my best performance on trail, ever, and walked 35 miles – totaling 60 miles in just under 48 hours.
Walking into Grants with nothing more than a couple of blisters had me feeling like I was finally ready to conquer this state.
Oh but the trail has a way of humbling you, questioning your next move, and wondering if you can prevail over obstacles you never saw coming.
(Here you can see smoke from the burn area in the North Gila Wilderness)
Fires have more or less closed the trail from Grants to Colorado. Mother nature can be a cruel temptress. Is it mother nature, society’s impact, or both? That’s a debate for another day. That’s surely a debate for the next election.
Nonetheless, fires have become a part of thru hiking. When you walk countless miles thru dry sections that used to having running water, you get it. You understand the fires.
You’re either walking thru burn areas, road walking around the fires, (in rare cases, thru them as they start. just ask CDT Hiker ‘Blaze’) forced to skip an entire section, or almost half of a state and flip north as things currently sit in New Mexico.
As I write this, physically I’ve never felt more capable as a thru hiker. Yet, the land of enchantment seems to elude me. In New Mexico, they call it the Land of Entrapment. Fitting as I feel trapped here like I can never escape by walking end to end.
We all have our kryptonite. My question to you is, what trail or section of a trail continues to elude you?
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