Day 143 – When quitting seems attractive
It was a weird day, I woke up still feeling tired, and to be honest, my heart wasn’t in the mood today. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I had wavering in my conviction to finish the course. But I allowed myself to daydream and think about quitting.
Maybe Zero Yesterday was showing me what that could be. Or maybe it was the fear of today’s steepest one-mile hike along the entire AT. But the idea of stopping and not continuing had real appeal today, ideas that had not happened before.
I woke up after a restless night around 7 and everything was like a chore. Packing, getting dressed, walking. It all hurts. Sometimes in the morning I sing R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” except I’ll change the lyrics to “Everything Hurts”. Today was one of those days.
We got a ride to the main road but along the way we got some breakfast croissants from Burger King. My bag felt extra heavy after our resupply. Before I started the hard climb for the day, I ate an apple and a kiwi and drank all the water to reduce the weight I could carry. There were points on the initial climb to the Wildcat gondola where the grade was over 40%.
It goes on staying slow. I took a short break at the top of the elevator chair to have a snack. I listened to more of my Dark Age audiobook to pass the time today. One positive aspect was my new Altra shoes which replaced my Hoka shoe which had collapsed on me. They had very good traction on the rocks today.
Hot Feet and I discussed our individual workout routines before heading out on the road. We also discussed how we can adjust or change those routines when we get home. For me, my workout routine was primarily strength training and nothing else. When I get home, I will try to be more diverse in my physical activity. I’d like to include more cardio workouts in Zone 2, exercises that focus on speed, strength, and plyometrics.
After going up Wildcat Mountain there was a steep descent down to Carter Notch Hut. I arrived shortly after 3pm. It was sad that the 6 mile run took over 6 hours to complete. I usually go 2-2.5 mph, 1 mph today was like a snail. There was a really inviting lake and very nice staff at this last egg white cottage. I almost thought of staying an hour to get another job staying in that hut and enjoying the lake the rest of the day. Unfortunately I couldn’t bring myself to run about 6 miles after zero yesterday.
After dipping my feet and soaking my shirt in the cold, I forced myself to go on. The second half of the day was a little better. The steepest climbs were behind me. All I had was 8 more miles until the end of my day. I captured a beautiful sunset from Mount Carter which made me feel a little better about hiking today. My speed didn’t go as fast as I’d like it, and with another mile or so left for the day, I had to pull out my headlight for a night hike.
It proved difficult to locate the disguise I intended to stay in in the dark. Nevertheless, I pressed on, intending to stop at the first suitable site I could find. Fortunately, for the next 0.3 miles I found a location with good cell service (which is still rare in New Hampshire). Unlucky for me. I got into a giant puddle that got both of my shoes somewhat wet. Fingers expressed relatively dry in the morning.
Camp, have dinner, tomorrow is another day. I hope my downtrodden and tired feelings are in the past when I wake up. I think I’ll be motivated to know there’s only 2.4k peaks left in New Hampshire and I’ll be in Maine before the weekend.
Stock in my bag for day 144 on the Appalachian Trail.
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