I lay there half conscious feeling a weight on my body. Eyes refusing to open, hoping that it’s way too early to wake up, knowing it’s too light out to be too early. My brain kicks into action telling my body we gotta get going before it gets too hot or too late, my body fights back scanning each limb and muscle justifying why it needs more time…more sleep.
When we started out in March it was cold, daylight was gone by 4:30pm and we didn’t really know anyone. Fast forward 4.5 months and now it’s light out till 8:30pm, it’s pretty warm to hot and muggy and we have a large tramily. It’s easy to burn the candle at both ends now. It’s easy to override what I really need to stay with the group. I never anticipated this kind of dynamic out here. I always felt it would be my and Kaleidoscopes needs above all, but something shifted. I struggle just like I did in the “real world” to keep a balance. Who knew that struggle would continue out here when life has been simplified down to walking eating and sleeping? It just goes to show you that you can’t escape the things that plague you just because you have changed your environment!
We have been hiking the Long Trail in Vermont now for five days. I can’t believe how fast Connecticut and Massachusetts went! Now we only have three states left and already nearing the end of our time here! The days are really flying now, inspite of the fact I know I am extremely conscious of each moment of the day. Nothing I do can slow it down. We have less than 600 miles left! Hitting 1600 miles a few days ago hardly passed me…. And yet I’m blown away… How’d did the mileage get so high?
As I lay here feeling from the numbers knowing I’m still trying to average about 15 miles each day I know the sky is getting too light for me to still be in bed. I’m ready for a summer vacation… I’m ready to be lazy and sleep in and go to bed when I want and take naps and yet….I have to keep marching forward. I will admit were have been taking lots of swimming and cooling off breaks and worried less about when we get in and more about how to relax and feel free… But it does catch up to us.
Afew days ago on July 8 I got a really nice boost to my feeling of tiredness when my friend Chris and his daughter Gaia surprised us with trail magic at the parking area of Stratton Mountain summit trail. We had been texting for a few days to figure out our timing for being in the area, he was so vague in his communication that I thought maybe he just wanted to do a portion of a day hike with me. It was a great surprise to us all the extent of his visit….he had burgers he freshly cooked on the grill (and veggie burgers for me knowing of my desire to remain mostly vegetarian!), lots of cold drinks, cold fresh fruit, amazing desserts and other goodies. He brought chairs and a food tent, a speaker for music and we talked and brought all passing hikers in. All agreed it was the most amazing trail magic! He and his daughter hiked the entire Long Trail a few years ago when she was 14, the same age Kaleidoscope is now, the same summer and time I was hiking alone in the Whites feeling the call to hike the AT! It was great to hear of their stories and struggles and and their victories during their time together. It was great sharing with all the other hikers there. It helped to reminde once again how much we have done and how much more we are still capable of. Tiredness be damned! I can overcome this, I do everyday, and I’ll keep doing it! The visit was more magical than a full belly…it nourished me to the core with that renewed resolve to find that beautiful balance that I know I find every day at various moments throughout the day. Yeah I’m tired, but I’m also so alive that the tiredness just reminds me of how much I am fully living!
I met a kid yesterday (on Instagram @raj_egg) that helped to remind me of the initial vision of this journey I would like to be on…
He started the AT in Georgia only a few weeks after me, but left after a few weeks. He then recently decided to focus on doing the Long Trail barefoot! As I watched him gracefully yet quickly move along the trail with a large pack that included a ukelele we talked about being vegetarian, living a life connected to nature, and making this hike our own hike regardless of who is around us. We walked for a few hours together until he peeled off to enjoy a peaceful view and I continued onward to finish off my day and relax.
Sometimes the tiredness that sets in is more mental than physical. There is a mental relief having a Tramily to plan and hang out with, but like any relationship or family there are also so mental burdens that can come from the personal Dynamics as well. I am grateful for these experiences because as I mentioned earlier you can’t escape them just because you change your environment…but you can learn to navigate them more gracefully and let go more easily and move on more peacefully. I’m not a runner…I don’t run away from problems or tiredness…instead I hike through them and I summit and I view the scene and I feel the changes and I find renewal.