It is 3.15pm. I am so starving I am making my dinner now. I simply cannot eat another bar. I am 17+ miles into a possibly 29+ mile day. I only have four more hours to go until town, and a giant salad and enormous turkey sandwich are what are on my mind. And a ton of avocado heaped on top of it all.
Today I woke up tired and I have been tired ever since. Coffee didn’t touch it. My mom’s magic pills didn’t help. I am so exhausted I am sitting right on a road cooking my pasta/rice meal. I simply do not care about the passing cars, their inhabitants wondering about the strange young hobo eating and typing on her smartphone.
When I feel this way I try and stop and eat. But if that doesn’t work, when I have a huge case of the “I don’t wanna”s, I usually just put on podcasts or an audiobook and put my feet on autopilot.
My body, strangely enough, does not need my help to move down the trail. I don’t need to look at my feet anymore. I don’t need to pay attention to twists in the trail. I have some kind of innate sense of where I am going and how fast I should be trotting along. It is now a part of me.
Today, in between podcast breaks, I thought about quitting. I know, dark thoughts after such joyful blogs. This is life, I guess.
I thought about just stopping and doing something fun. I thought about going swimming. I thought about just not walking for a while. I even thought about getting a job and eating dinner in my apartment. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Wouldn’t stopping be every bit as beautiful as continuing on?
Last night I made a crazy decision: if I hike 25 miles every day and only take three days off, I can be in Oregon for my birthday. I can go to Ashland and eat cake and Thai food and sushi and lay in a bed in a room with walls around it. I can go shopping and wear my town dress and drink coffee until my heart jumps right into my throat. I can not walk for days at a time, or walk down the street if I like!
The only problem with the plan is the 25 mile days. Day after day of them is already draining my reserves. I seem to be incapable of eating enough to get them done. And what of my feet? The tendinitis and plantar fasciitis probably won’t like that plan. And how about my crankiness that I am already feeling about them?
I guess I’ll just put it on the books as a tentative plan, and leave it up to the universe to decide the outcome.
Directly after I started walking again I found Chilly Willie, the bird biologist, staring into the woods. I crept up, wondering what was happening.
“See that bird?” He asked.
I did. It was black with a white head and a tiny strip of red at the back. It was beautiful.
He helped me remember the wonder of this trail.
Then I remembered the deer I passed today, shaking its ears at the flies, only 10 feet away from me. I stared and he stared. We were both filled with wonder.