After my week-long hiatus, I’m hitting the trail again this morning. I’ll be taking up where I left off; I’ll also be trying to reduce my mileage by a bit to start back up. That may be one of the most difficult challenges; the pressure to move forward is only mounting, but I don’t want to take myself off the trail entirely with aggravated injury.
This past week of inaction left me a lot of time to contemplate my motives. Wise sources say that one of the most important factors in finishing a thru-hike is your motivation: what keeps you moving when times are tough. I know I’ve really only just started, but I’ve already been through waves of regret, doubt, indecision, and sadness. I’ve found some joy on the trail, but it’s all mixed up with these other emotions that other hikers seem not to evince. Part of the struggle this last week was the feeling that I was happy to be home again.
But that’s also part of the push. I missed the opportunities the trail affords for wonder, for reflection, and for challenge. I find it so easy to avoid challenge in my everyday life, blessed as I am, and I am work averse to a ridiculous degree. Part of this journey is about pushing myself, and having something to look back upon that is inspirational—for others, but, I think, mostly for myself. I know that God has allowed me this opportunity, at my insistent asking; I want to find out what’s on the other side of that desire now that it has become a reality.
So I’m headed back into the hot desert today to continue. We shall see what the days bring, and I hope to define that purpose more sharply.
Once again, voy con Dios.