Day 166: Mind Over Body

September 27, 2017: Hiked Miles 976.6 to 956.1 (20.5 total)

I fell asleep by 8:30 last night and slept hard until about 2:00 when I woke up and had to pee. But when I got back in the tent I couldn’t sleep because I was in so much pain. My back and stomach were killing me and I tossed and turned and moaned until it woke Colton up. He rubbed my back which helped a little, but I still felt so nauseous. I got out of the tent and forced myself to puke a bunch. It was pretty much all water since I haven’t been able to eat much lately, but it made me feel way better. I finally fell back asleep and Colton had to shake me awake at 6:45. I could barely open my eyes. I had zero energy. All I wanted to do was sleep until I felt better. But instead I got up, shoved some poptarts in and started hiking into another beautiful freezing cold morning. 

The trail had a lot of snow in the morning and it was still frozen and really icy this early so we had to be very careful walking. 

We made our way up the mountain to some gorgeous mountain lakes.

I really can’t believe how pretty they are. 

We had a couple really long climbs in the morning that completely kicked my butt. I felt like I couldn’t breathe since my throat is so dry from being dehydrated and throwing up. And every step made me feel like I was going to puke. I kept choking trying to swallow and finally just had to sit down and cry until I could catch my breath. I had a little talk with myself and reminded myself how fortunate I am. Yea, I’m sick and in a lot of pain. But at least I have legs and can hike even in this condition. Some people aren’t that lucky. And at least I live in a country where I have the freedom to quit work for half a year and spend my time doing whatever I like. A lot of people aren’t that lucky either. So I put a mindset of determination in my head, thanked God for teaching me whatever lesson he is at the moment, and told myself I could do it. It hurt and I probably sounded like a dying elephant with how much noise I was making trying to breathe, but I didn’t let myself give up and I put one foot in front of the other and pushed until I made it to the top of the hill. And then I collapsed on the ground and caught my breath and did the same thing for the next hill. Sometimes you just have to tell your body what it’s gonna do and not the other way around. At the top of the second hill I yelled out in as much triumph as I could muster and then collapsed on the ground again. For a few minutes at least. 

We are hiking through the most beautiful mountains right now and I hope I get the chance to come back here someday when I’m not sick so I can appreciate it more. 

We crossed lots of creeks throughout the day and had the chance to do lots of rock-hopping and log-crossing. 

This always makes creek crossings a little more exciting and nerve racking. 

We stopped for a quick lunch and I had the most appetite I have had in days. I managed to eat two tortillas and some salami and not feel like I was force-feeding myself. We had one more good climb after lunch and I finally felt like I could breathe and was not going to puke and we kicked the climb’s butt.

At the top we were rewarded with more awesome views. 

The rest of the evening passed fairly quickly and we made it to camp by 6:30 with more light to set up in than last night. I stretched a lot and noticed that my lower back is so tight that if I try to sit up or stand up too quickly I get shooting pains through it. I hope that it will go away once I get some rest. 

We ate dinner but once again I had no appetite. I forced a tortilla and some mashed potatoes down but couldn’t even finish it because I knew I would just make myself sick. 

Hopefully we will both sleep well tonight, because tomorrow we only have 13.6 miles until we hit Tuolomne Meadows which is where we finish. These past two days have been the hardest days of the entire trail for me. And while it’s not how I would have liked my hike up end, it’s actually very fitting. The trail will always teach you something about yourself, most of the time when you least expect it, and in this case, right up until the very end.

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3 thoughts on “Day 166: Mind Over Body

  1. I have been glued to your blog for the past few months with the goal being to gain the mental toughness to attempt a PCT through hike. Your wise decision to turn around just north of Tuolomne and your determination to return and finish this section gives me a greater amount of mental strength, although likely not to your degree. But enough to feel that I could make this happen. Thanks for the inspiration and the well written text and beautiful photos. Much success in all of your future endeavors.

    Liked by 1 person

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