I knew I was behind on my "schedule" of increasing my backpack days by one day per year. Last year was supposed to be the 5 day (fail) so that this year I could do 6 days. If you're trying to figure out the math of how I'm going to get to 50 days of hiking in just the four years until I turn 50...don't. I came up with the "50 days when I turn 50" before I had backpacked a day of my life. So I started with a one night backpack, and every year I try to make it one day longer. I figured if I got to my 49th birthday and could backpack 9 days; then I'd be "prepared" to go for the 50 days the following year.
I was trying to be okay with being behind; I was doing the best I could, after all. It's not easy to carve out that much time to be away from life...and for heaven's sake it's already October. But not being able to accomplish the simple goal of one extra day a year was really making me doubt the whole plan.
And then, a miracle. A forecast of incredible weather for a whole week. (In October, don't forget) I was wrestling, though, with not only guilt for leaving my family yet again, and taking off work yet again; but also the very real fear and anxiety that always goes along with thinking about being out there alone, yet again. (and even "incredible" weather in October is going to be awfully chilly at night)
An article I read by a thru hiker of the PNT (Pacific NW Scenic Trail; not to be confused with the much longer and more traveled PCT) Jeff Kish gave me the courage to just go for it. In his story he describes a conversation he was having with an elderly gentleman while "refueling" in town half way through his journey. The older man (Bob) was so excited to hear about this hike, and started sharing his own stories of outdoor glory days. Before leaving, Bob tells Jeff, "this is a good thing you're doing...while you're still young"; then, while choking back tears, leaves saying, "I wish I could be young again." I cried after I read it, and determined I needed to do what scares me while I still could. (I know, I really didn't do the tale justice--you should read it yourself http://gearjunkie.com/pnt-trip-report-pacific-ocean)
Though, just because I was set on doing 6 days didn't mean I knew where the heck I was going. That is always the hardest part; "the plan". I go round and round, ask lots of annoying questions on the NWhikers forum, come up with something, change my mind, ask more questions, and so on and so forth.
|Sassy pants is ready to roll!|
|A sweaty palms drive|
|A serious hiker, AND football fan|
|Now this is serious! Beats my Top Ramen for sure.|
part two: http://kellbell-whywouldanyonereadthis.blogspot.com/2014/10/day-two-to-grasshopper-pass.html