Slow Man and I were up with the sun, but thanks to daylight savings, that was a luxurious 7:30am. A quick breakfast, goodbyes to Slow Man, and I was on the trail for 19 miles.
The first thing I had to face was an ascent. 2000ft over a mile and a half. That’s a little more steep than I’d generally prefer to see, but let’s be honest: in my condition, everything is steep and I don’t like any of it.
I had to stop and eat. And drink some water. And whine to myself about how I just didn’t like it. I convinced myself to keep going by thinking about how good my legs would look. It’s like really terrible squats that never end, for like…9 hours.
There’s a bit of a lack of pictures from today too. My hands were cold, ok? The kind of cold where the skin on your fingers burns and your lips won’t quite move when you try to talk.
But I finally earned some views.
And then I cursed my way downhill for the next 4 miles, wondering how much longer it could POSSIBLY be until I got to my car.
My legs were tired, my feet felt beat up, I was thirsty and hungry and severely dehydrated. I had a migraine threatening behind my eye. My hip bones were bruised from two pairs of thermals and a pair of shorts and the hip belt of my pack tightened as much as I could get it. My triceps ached from pulling myself up mountains and tiny little inconsequential hills that felt like mountains to me.
I didn’t. I still had a 5 hour drive back home, and I was sweating in the 50F day. But that hesitation, that longing to keep going even if just for a second…well, it helped me find myself again, I guess. I wasn’t missing some crappy guy. I was missing the trail and the version of me that I’d always been.
Up on Pearis Ledges there had been a slack packer and two day hikers. We’d all chatted pleasantly, and as I’d hiked down, I’d surprised myself by thinking how glad I was to be alone again when meeting people. I wasn’t anyone’s girlfriend, just tagging along. I wasn’t an afterthought in introductions or taking a backseat in the conversation or cringing at whatever someone might say.
It was nice, to hold my own presentation in my hands again, I guess. I don’t really know how to word that correctly. But I hope you know what I mean.
Trip Total: 45.3
MVP: the first 2 miles of running down to pearisburg. Then it got old 🙂
LVP: right foot