I tell my friends I'm so excited for them, I smile and congratulate and wish them luck, but really I'm one giant self centered puddle of resentment. I'm green with envy, jealousy and self pity at its finest. I want to throw myself on the floor and throw a full on epic kindergarten style tantrum. Unfair my 5 year old self screams, unfair, how come you get to go play and I'm stuck here all alone and friendless.
And then I have to remind myself, stop, breathe, you are not an ostrich with your head in the sand. You have amazing friends and the mountains at your doorstep. The whole summer stretches out in front of you with endless opportunities, even if they aren't necessarily a thruhike. This was a conscious decision you made, a choice made with a lot of careful thought. Everything isn't always about instant gratification, every choice is going to have those down moments, soon I have to remind myself. This was all part of a longer range plan, but the photos, oh gosh those photos, they taunt me.
The pictures of the approach trail in Georgia, backpacks and bicycles, hiker trash across the country setting out with spring as I sit armchair traveling. Talk of shuttles and resupply, snow pack and fire danger, I listen with an obsessive compulsion.
Patience is not one of my strong suits and I want out. No I don't want to wait 5 years, no a shorter hike is really not what I want to do, and actually that weekend trip just isn't enough for me. I want to wake up and know I have thousands of miles ahead of me. As my knees creak and my feet ache I want to wonder where my next water is and where the heck the trail went. I miss making friends on the trail and the simple physical exertion of 20 plus mile days for days on end. I miss looking through my food bag for the millionth time in the vain hope that I might find some extra crumb I forgot about, the endless loop of worrying about how far I've gone and how far I have yet to go, and the hunger, good grief I almost miss that insatiable hunger.
Showers are overrated, as is knowing what color my skin really is under all that dirt and no I don't care that I smell. Yes I was tired and almost always on some crazy emotional tightrope but I miss the escape and I miss the joy.
So yes I'll keep smiling and obsessively checking your updates but I'll mostly just be thinking, know why the heck am I not out there and when will I be?
So here goes, a challenge to myself. No you will not be thruhiking this season so shut up for just a minute and take advantage of what you've got. How about one good short adventure a month for the season? March is a pass because of the crazy amounts of work commitments I already have in place but April there is no hiding. This may not be a summer of thruhiking but its going to be a good one regardless. Here's to making this summer one awesome adventure, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming you are on my list. Lets make this happen.