Friday, May 16, 2014

When One Door Closes...

Nearly three weeks ago I helped Cori pack up her first three mail drops for her Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hike and shipped them, along with her gear, out to California. Two days later she faced one of her greatest fears, and got on a plane to San Diego, CA. By April 25, she was 1 of 75 people standing at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  That evening she was at Lake Morena celebrating ADZPCTKO (Annual Day Zero PCT Kickoff), feeling ever not so well, and after another two days of trying to overcome suspected jet lag she thankfully found herself back at the home of trail angel Betty Wheeler. An initial visit to urgent care revealed that she had contracted a virus and was instructed to take an additional 7-10 days of rest. At her rate of recovery, she would need at least another week off to recoupe, putting her back on the trail mid May. With a goal to finish by September first, this would mean hiking an average of roughly 25 miles/day with no days off. Doesn't sound like much fun. After three days of sleeping with no sign of recovering, and much discussion about the "right thing to do" she decided to come home, and try again next year. This decision later proved to be invaluable. Later visits and tests to the doctor revealed she had contracted a strain of the flu. She wound up needing a full two weeks of rest before feeling "normal" again.

Although seemingly unfortunate, this series of events has resulted in a new outlook for both of us. Next year, when Cori revisits the trail, I will be with her.
Its been five years since I stepped foot on the Appalachian Trail, and with every year that has passed I've struggled between returning to the trail and rejoining the rat race. I don't want to struggle anymore. Life is short, and while the trail may always be there, my body may not always be physically capable of doing a 2,600 mile long-distance hike. I've had the pleasure to talk with so many people about my AT adventure of the years, and more often then not people respond with, "I wish I could do that, but my mortgage, my kids.....", or "I would have loved to have done that when I was younger, but my body just can't handle that now". I don't want to be the person. I have a choice. I have and will continue to make specific choices in my life that will allow me explore whatever my adventurous heart desires.

I miss trail life. I miss waking up with the sunrise, and going to bed with the glowing moon. I miss the earth under my feet. I miss the simplicity of life. I miss the sense of adventure.  I miss the humanity of the trail community. I miss the sense of accomplishment that goes along with hiking a 20 mile day. I miss eating whatever I want and not giving a single thought as to where that food is going to land on my hips! I miss everything about it, and I've missed it for far too long.

Its time to return to the trail, and I can not be more excited to be sharing this adventure with my best friend.  Leaning on the words of Carrot Quinn, "I’m so excited to thru-hike again. It makes my heart pound just thinking about it. Nothing has ever made me feel as happy, inspired and fulfilled. Nothing."  I could not agree more.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that must be exciting to revisit the trail with your best friend! I have spent a few years trail running with my husband and have really enjoyed it. It's mainly because we get to enjoy the outdoors and nature. As well as spending time together, I think those are the best parts. Good luck on your next trip!

    Betsy Collyer @ U.S. HealthWorks Santa Clara