Thru hiking can be really stressful — just as, if not more so, than civilized life. “Why?” You are probably asking yourself. “There are just woods and camping and eating junk food and tra-la-la-ing along without a care in the world.”
You would be right for most of the time. It is so fun and green and restful and yummy and enjoyable. But sometimes it isn’t.
Today was one of those days. I trotted along and my body trembled with fear. The woods were beautiful and running over with birdsong and I was quaking with worry. The sun was casting golden shadows on us and the world around and I was focused on my innards, wriggling about unhappily inside. Ant and Rainbow Dash were thigh deep in gleeful conversation, and I was brooding dark thoughts.
This trail has not been easily flowing from one thing to the next. Instead, it feels as if by solving one problem, we open up a plethora of others. In my normal life, if I come upon problem after problem while running one way, I would quickly see it as a signal and change my course of action.
Today I was all in a huff about the post office. Sometimes, my friends, when you are trying to mail yourself a full month of food, you find that the post office is not open normal hours. Instead of working with people’s schedules, it closse on Friday at 4pm (and you have an hour long break in the middle of that seven hour day) and doesn’t open on Saturday.
Let me back up a little here — Ant and I tried to do as little planning as possible before the trip (so part of the stress is of our own making). When faced with the terror of buying and repackaging and sending out food for ourselves for six months, we just didn’t. Instead, we decided to buy when we could and send ourselves packages every 500 miles.
We are now at that first 500 mile threshold — and the Sierras demand four large mail drops. That means figuring out how long that will take us (trickier than you’d imagine at this point in the game!), buying the food, unpackaging and repackaging all the food, fitting it into flat rate boxes, and sending it out to the post office. Blah! This is exactly the kind of planning we wanted to avoid in the first place.
Sadly, to make matters worse, we are ending up in Mojave (the fateful town zero where this flurry of activity will happen) on Friday. Blarg!! And to make matters even more complicated, Ant’s feet need some rest.
Today also coincided with another fire detour, which placed us on a 12 mile road walk. I was dreading it, but those miles reminded me of the little biways we frequented on Bike & Build, and I felt right at home.
This trail is just a contingency plan kind of place.