Day 89: Ugly

This is the lowest point, I think. I hope.

It’s 7:27 AM, and raining and gray. I have absolutely no motivation to get up inside a wet tent and put on wet, cold clothes, try to organize a saturated pile of wet gear, and trudge through the rain for not enough miles, only to set up in the wet again.

I’m in a quicksand of misery and indecision. My arms and face are so bug-chewed that I’ve scratched them bloody in places. My rain gear and hat and shoes are outside the tent, and probably covered in ticks. I can’t face the bugs. I’d have to hike in long sleeves, wet long pants, wet socks, and my head net. That sounds hotter than I can work up any enthusiasm for.

On the other hand, it would be cooler to do that in the rain than on a sunny day.

I’m cold at the moment. The thought of putting on icy wet underwear, my wet shirt… it just makes me shudder. Walking would be warmer. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be packed and marching.

Food is an issue. I looked at the book last night. There are towns, but I’d have to hitchhike, and the thought of that just makes me cry. I can’t do that alone.

Actually, everything is making me cry. I’m completely miserable. And it’s just easier being miserable without moving, listening to the rain beat down on the tent.

Maybe I just need a mental health zero.

Somebody made a suggestion. They said I should skip Pennsylvania and jump ahead to New Jersey (or New York, even) after the half-gallon challenge and go north from there. Then finish at Katahdin and come home, and take the next month or two to finish my home ground at my leisure, but still within the calendar year. That idea has some appeal. It’s been an ugly hike all around anyway, without anything neat or clean about it. It’s not going to be linear and neat around the edges, either.

~~~
9 AM update: Mental health day, it is. I stepped outside the tent to manage the necessities. It’s actually not too bad out there. It’s not actively raining, I don’t think—more like wind in the trees blowing the water around. Although I could be wrong. It might just be raining in fits and starts. There’s a wan sun behind the clouds, not getting any brighter.

I hung my underwear and socks inside the tent, and I spread out my shirt and pants a bit. If the sun comes out enough to dry the rainfly, I might hang a clothesline. Honestly, it’s being cold and the thought of putting on cold wet clothes that stopped me… er… cold. All else being equal, I think I could motivate if my clothes and gear were dry. Then it’s just the heavy pack and the bugs to deal with.

At any point I might decide to pack up and walk a little. There’s another campsite in 5 miles (the one I was aiming for yesterday).

Thru-hiking is making me loathe the woods. And that’s not right.

Other hikers are stopping at the spring for water. Right now a girl is karaoking the Beach Boys. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice.’ That’s the Beach Boys, right? They make me feel guilty for not cranking out miles. The hikers, that is; not the Beach Boys. That’ll probably go on all day. The Troutville folks. And should I be going to more of these festivals? Forget the miles, and just enjoy the people? Well, that’s academic. I think the festivals are over. I haven’t been to a hiker feed or anything like that, either. I’m not even sure how you find that stuff.

There’s a Dutch Haus hostel in a day or two that has a great reputation. But again, how do you get to it? I think it’s 5 miles or something. That’s 6 hours at least. A wasted day (says the girl wasting the day in a tent).

If I’m still here tonight and my clothes are still wet, I might shove them in a ziplock and sleep with them to warm them up. That’s risky, though. They can get mildew-stinky even overnight, as I know from bitter experience.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 89: Ugly

  1. Lisa Milstead

    Mental health days are important. I realize that a thru is ‘vacation’, but it’s also a helluva lot of WORK! I like the suggestion of skipping PA, and coming back to that after.

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