The only constant is change. This little saying that we all know so well has never been so true or prominent in my life as it is on the trail. Change is all we know whether we accept it or not, it is all around us, it is in our hearts, it is in our minds.
As humans, it is difficult for us to share our experiences when we are struggling through them & that is where I have been for some time, in the midst of the most real, most uncomfortable & most amazing struggle of my life.
There are hundreds of individuals on the trail still, all in the grips of our ever changing trail... For each person, the trail morphs into a new path with different obstacles and different rewards. With each kicked rock, fallen branch, flying butterfly, wildfire, wind gust & sunset, it is different for each one of us. We all have our very own trail to hike... We all have our very own lessons to learn... We all have our very own story of how this path has changed us.
I never imagined pushing through as much physical discomfort as I have so far only to have my mind be the weakest link. I thought for sure that it would be something like my recent Achilles injury that would have me questioning my completion of the trail... Not losing my mental focus, that isn't the way that this thing goes down. After being beaten up physically through the southern portion of the Sierras, an 8 night rest in Lake Tahoe was not even enough to lift my spirits.
Getting back on the trail, all my aches and pains were still there and now I had an ache in my heart to stay in Tahoe. I began to question my reason for continuing, hiking over 1,100 miles was physically and mentally tough, I wanted an answer to be clear but the best I could come up with was that we set out to do this and that is what we will continue to do.
I was stuck in a paradox... I was surrounded by natural beauty, unparalleled in the "civilized world", I knew that the worst day on the trail is still better than the best day at work, but I was having the battle of my life in my head... I felt tired of hiking & it was like I kept pushing the repeat button on this thought. When David began to notice my ever decreasing enthusiasm towards being on the trail, we were faced with a big decision... He hated to see me suffer and was willing to give up our dream to hike to Canada.
I couldn't let this happen, I had to get my head out of this negative downward spiral.
I realized what I had been doing and decided to get out of my own way and re-commit to this journey. When we falter in spirit or determination, we are in a position of choice... I choose to accept that I may not always love the trail. I choose to accept that this hard work will change me. I choose to be strong mentally & physically and push past my comfort zone to reach new levels of appreciation for the trail. I choose to learn what I can from this ever changing teacher.
We have both had to look deep within and confirm our commitment throughout this whole journey, this reflective process has been on an individual level and as a team.
I know that although we travel together, the journey has been as different as it can possibly be for each hiker, the impermanent nature of our temporary journey will change the course of our lives in special and unique ways. I have my clear answer... And THIS my friends, is why I choose to still hike north with the love of my life.