I’m writing this post while I wait for my laundry to finish washing. I’m in Daleville, VA. A tiny town near Roanoke. The kind of place that one finds themselves after a lifetime of poor decisions.
I’m now averaging 20 miles a day. To maintain this pace you have to walk 11-12 hours and not dally during your breaks. This kind of pace takes a toll on the mind and body. Hiking into Daleville I felt bone deep exhaustion that I’ve only experienced a handful of times – during Army basic training and after I opened CrossFit Audacity.
The kind of exhaustion where every step is a chore and the thought of 1450 more miles seems impossible.
This reminds me of the book The Dip by Seth Gordon. It’s a quick read and the premise is that every endeavour requires one to pass through a time of hardship and only by passing through this dip can we reach our goal. And armed with that knowledge it’s up to us to decide which endeavors are worth traversing the Dip and which endeavors are better abandoned before you slog through the Dip.
Everyone is going through the same dip. McQueen left the trail in Pearisburg and Beehive skipped ahead 600 miles. Cha-cha and Ducky are leaving the trail today. Others have expressed their doubts about finishing.
For me there’s no question of quitting the hike during the Dip. The trail is where I’m supposed to be. There’s no doubt in my mind. The rewards are worth the pain.
Already I’ve noticed that the trail is burning away fears. The fear of the unknown, fear of strangers, fear of the wild, fear of the dark. Fear of not having enough. Of not being enough.
It’s reaching the beautiful views after miles of struggle that makes the trail worthwhile for me. I walked through four days of rain and mud before reaching the Dragon’s tooth and Mcafee’s knob. Sitting ontop of Mcafee’s my heart was filled with an indescribable joy. And I think I wouldn’t have appreciated the view half as much if I were one of the day hikers who drove to the knob.
So I will hike on. Walk through the Dip. And complete the trail.
Next stop is Waynesboro, another 130 miles, my biggest stretch yet. Thanks for reading. Keep on keeping on.