I’ve been off trail for almost two weeks…again. I haven’t yet typed up my journal entry about having to get off the trail, so this may seem confusing and out of the blue. I will explain later. For now, I’d like to ramble on for a bit, and mostly just vent.
Being off trail is disheartening. It is difficult to wake up in the morning, in a room and not the woods, on a bed and not the ground, with the option to take a shower whenever I want to and make real food and not all kinds of junk stuffed into tortillas. Speaking of options–there are so many of them! It is overwhelming picking out what to wear when I’m used to having one or two options for the past three months. It is strange deciding what to do today instead of knowing that I’ll just walk all day until it gets dark. I can also choose where I want to go, and be somewhere far away in an hour (what would take me a week on foot!) because I have access to transportation. And it’s all so loud and confusing everywhere. So many streets and cars and lights! Haha. I sound like a caveman. But I’ve been trying my best to get used to it and adapt to society once more. I’ve finally forced myself to go out and see old friends (I didn’t want to earlier because I thought it would make me feel like I’m permanently back, that it’s really true that I’m off trail, and I didn’t want that to sink in. I’d rather be confused every morning when I don’t wake up in a forest. Haha!). And to get my exercise (my body is used to hiking for 10-12 hours a day), I ride my bike almost every evening and make myself go up the gnarliest hills so that I sweat the way I did while hiking, and come back ready to collapse (a familiar feeling). I’ve considered getting a temporary job while I wait for my body to make necessary repairs (my lower back and achilles are both still inflamed) and I’ve wrestled with the distressing possibility that I might have to complete my thru-hike next year if I don’t heal in time. I’ve been getting so stir-crazy, and sometimes, I wake up frustrated and crestfallen because I’m not out there, hiking, probably somewhere in Oregon by now. And on those days, I try to do as many activities that I enjoy as I can possibly fit in a day’s worth. I read (mostly about other people hiking or having other types of adventures), I paint, I listen to music, I bike around (which, by the way, my doctor told me not to do until my back heals, but then what do I do? Sit around all day? I’ll absolutely go insane!), I write (I promise to post some old and new journal entries on my blog soon). And still, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m heartbroken because my favorite thing ever has been taken from me and I can’t be where I feel I need to be. My mind is a mess. My heart is restless. I’m torn apart between so many options, the main two being: get back on trail this year or postpone until the next. But it’s not up to me either way. It’s up to my body and how well it heals. And I have days when I’m on the verge of just packing up and attempting it once more, pain and all, or climbing under the covers and curling up into a ball and crying, “why?!” I’m trying my hardest to stay sane. And most importantly, I’m still pursuing what makes me happy. I just had to cross hiking off of that list for a little while. And I’m hopeful. So hopeful. And whatever happens, it’ll be okay. And either way, come what may, I’ll be happy. My joy can’t be taken from me. Life is amazing…even within four walls. A little less so, I admit, but I’m an optimist. Don’t rain on my parade. My sad, little, adventure-less parade, full of Aleve bottles and sitting on my butt and icing my tailbone, but that’s not the point!