It’s been a while since I could write, It’s been weird out here in the shenandoahs, I get service just fine, but no Internet whatsoever. Anyways, here’s how my past few days have been.
To start, the number of seriously dangerous encounters with animals that I’ve had recently is almost laughable. I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details of the stories, but the quick and dirty versions are that I walked no more than a foot away from a huge copperhead, not knowing it was there until it coiled into striking position. Later that day, as I was about to go to sleep, I realized there was a three foot copperhead not more than 2 feet from the bottom of my sleeping bag in the shelter. From the look in its eyes I think it was trying to cuddle with me.
Both situations could have been bad, but the snake I walked next to is definitely the closest I’ve come to having a serious injury. Beyond those snakes, I’ve seen at least 7 other bears, in three different encounters. None dangerous, of course. At this point the only bears I’m worried about are the ones in these big national parks that are filled with tourists who don’t know what to do (like the
shannandoahs). After a few encounters with tourists who run away at the sight of a bear, or worse, drop their food filled packs at their feet, the bears become “tame” and lose their natural fear of humans. Thankfully the ones I’ve seen here haven’t been too tame, and I’m almost out.
As for the content of my days, I’m not going to mince words: the past few have been incredibly difficult. I’m not sure why, but I’ve been feeling horribly fatigued both mentally and physically. My other low moments have been mainly psychological, just feeling a little blue, but recently my body has given out on me. I took a zero in waynesboro, but it didn’t help. The next day I only hiked 12 miles when I planned to hike 20, which is the only time I haven’t made my daily goal.
Today was probably the worst. I got out of camp really late and even during the first mile of the day, each step was a burden. For the first time yet I actually wanted to give up and go home for a break. I felt the visceral desire to quit. Of course I have no intention of doing so, but today was the first time I had to wrestle with that feeling itself.
On the first night on the trail I wrote in my journal “I’m excited, but I know eventually I’ll hit a wall, I just hope I’m strong enough to push through it when the time comes.” I’ve had a few walls so far, but this was definitely the hardest to push through. I’m sure I’ll have a few more before I’m done, and I suspect they will be even worse than this one. But for now, I think I’ve made it past this one, at least for today, and that’s all that matters.
I know I wrote another negative post not too long ago, so I don’t want to give the impression I’m very unhappy out here. I was just unhappy this morning. I’m always glad to be out here though. And by the afternoon I was hauling along again and feeling much better.
Tonight I got to camp really late, so I’m staying in the shelter. There are mice EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen at least five already, which is a ton considering I’ve never seen any in a shelter before (but of course they were there). I almost wish the cuddly copperhead from last night were here.
Going to try to do 27 miles tomorrow, so I need to head to bed. More later. Sorry this post is a bit sloppy, like I said I got to camp late, so I had to quickly type this up before bed.