July 27 2015
The emotional ego journey has led me into a new state of being. When I came out here I told everyone that my reason for hiking was to become strong. What I had meant was that I wanted to be independent. As hard as I tried to be independent, I still kept ending up in groups or with a hiking buddy. I wanted to do big miles, so I did. I wanted to be fast, so I was and I wanted to try my hardest. I thought I could be more than I was and carried too much weight. When I injured my leg I was carrying a 40lb pack.
My hike was energetic, tiring and truly challenging. I hit the trail hard and it was raw.
Then I wore down. The weight did not make me stronger and I broke. The day I was injured my hip belt broke on my pack. Then my hip started hurting. I sprained a groin muscle and severely injured my lower back causing my hip and knees to give out. I then hobbled on stubbornly for two weeks until it became obvious that I could no longer walk. I limped without my pack on. When my mom came to get me in Vermont, I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without crawling a little or grabbing onto walls to stand. It sank in that I was probably going home; my hike was over.
A new hike started.
I got in the car and began to drive to PA. I felt sick, sad, and hopeless. I wished with all my strength that I could change the current circumstances. I was in denial. As I drove south, I could feel the last four months slipping away from me, skipping by and ending.
I wasn’t prepared to cope with the end of trail so soon. I was less troubled by the thought of not finishing than I was by the thought of returning to normal life. When we crossed the Susquehanna River I broke down. I had to stop and take a moment. I wept.
I couldn’t articulate my thoughts, so I leaned over my leg and cried. I decided at this point that I should drive myself away from trail. I knew that no one was going to help me get back to Vermont because everyone thought I should stop. I got in the car and cruised. I had to get away from trail.
I was so happy when I walked out of PA and so disgusted when I saw the welcome sign.