Today was the hardest day on trail. Strangely, it wasn't my feet, knees, or any other part of my body that made it difficult. It was my mind.
I came off a zero expecting to be refreshed and ready for 25 mile days again. I was anything but ready.
My heart just hasn't been in it for the last week. 100°F temps, green tunnels of leaves, thick brush, and no grand views of peaks or valleys has taken a toll on me. It's also not just me — my current group is also pretty demoralized. Jen, Roi, and Philipp (a new addition and one of the first people to make it straight through the Sierra's this year) are all kinda down on the trail lately. Well, not Philipp as much, but even he had some tough days.
I'm not quitting the trail and neither is anyone else I'm with. After 1200+ miles, you find ways of coping with the aches and pains of your body. However, it seems the mental game has now begun in earnest. I hope I'm up to the challenge.
Jen and I, overheated during a four mile climb out of Mt. Shasta, sat right down on the trail to take a break. Having not really dealt with the mental game yet, I asked her what she thought about it. She says that each moment is perfect the way it is. The harder you fight against it, the more frustrated you become. Live in the moment, experience it, then let it pass — because it will pass.
I tried that approach for the rest of the day. It didn't work, well, not yet anyway. I think she's on to something though. We're just transients in space and time. We move through the world as it is. We see things and hear things and feel things and touch things, but very little of the world can do these things to us in return. We are unique.
In an attempt to be in the moment, I stopped and rested my hand on the bark of a massive cedar tree, just to feel it. I tilted my head all the way back and looked up. I waited for a while, but nothing happened. I closed my eyes, turned, gripped my trekking pole, and opened my eyes to find myself looking up the trail again. I then walked into the next moment.