Up until today I have been hiking on biking trails, streets, and awkward connecting paths to get me to the North Country Trail. Just before setting up camp for the night, I saw my first trail official trail marker- exciting stuff!
Ok, I’ve made my obligatory postivite-thinking opening remarks. Now, I want to focus on all the shit that I’ve screwed up already.
It was really important for me to pay for all of my gear for this trip with my own money, I wanted to literally take ownership of the experience. The only thing I accepted as a gift was a camera that Mom bought for me, and Dad’s GPS and knife. Each of those things is now either lost or broken. Honestly, I have no memory of taking the GPS but I definitely had that knife. They are nowhere to be seen. I think back to that chaotic pile of gear and packaging that was my “staging area” and I shudder to think that I might’ve thrown them away.
Last night, there was a major rainstorm and my gear was soaking wet when I woke up. As I hiked today, I realized that my camera had gotten damp inside its case so I hooked it to my pack and let it dangle in the open air to dry out. Not remembering it was exposed, I set my load down to pee and find my compass. The weight of my pack smooshed the camera into the dune that I set it on and now every crevice of the camera is embedded with sand. I’m pretty sure it’s dead. I’ve had it for 3 days.
On top of all of that I got really lost today. So early into this trip, I’ve already suffered from lack of adequate planning. I didn’t start off on the North Country Trail and there is no direct trail to get there from where I started. I knew this in advance but didn’t do anything to plan for it. I thought I would “figure it out” as I went, which I guess I did because I made it here, but I’m frustrated at myself for making it so much harder than it needed to be. For a few hours, I alternately followed the hilly paths of power lines or bushwhacked through the forest. After failing to find the GPS, I broke in my compass, but I also reminded myself how unskilled I am at orienteering. When I saw that first NCT trail sign I almost couldn’t believe it.
The good news is that I have only myself to blame and only I suffer the consequences.
I’ve thought a lot about my goals for this trip. Some people might think that I am escaping my life and running away from my problems but I really feel that it’s the opposite- I am escaping distractions and running to face my problems. The list is probably longer than this, but here are some of the things I expect, or at least hope, to change on this trip:
- I will be physically different: stronger, leaner, tanner
- I will know more about nature, trees, birds, stars, weather, sun
- I will know more about Michigan
- I will know more about myself
- I will be more confident, free to pursue many ambitions
- I will be wiser. Perhaps a better listener, perhaps steadier
- I will be better able to spend time by myself
- I will be ”recovered” or at least “in recovery” from bulimia
- I will be off medication
- I will write more- journaling, notes, letters, articles
- I will be justifiably proud, I won’t feel like a fake anymore
- I will take my time to do things right- no more shortcuts
I know better than to think that I will change myself just by changing my surrounding, but this time feels different. This time I’m not just changing my location but my whole approach. I hope it works.
Continue to the next entry in the series here: Day 4: Sand Lake to Log Lake
Go back to the previous entry in the series here: Day 1: Sutton’s Bay to Traverse City
“Some people might think that I ran away from my problems but I really feel like I’m running to face them.”
I can really relate. Up until a couple years ago I spent most of my life living by F.E.A.R (fuck everything and run). So when I have taken off for days alone, I have had to ponder am I running now?
I think it is unanimously conclusive that it is much easier to run from problems in the midst of chaos. In fact I often believe that is the reason why many of us stay busy so much of the time, its a great distraction from what is really going on.
When I’m alone on the trail, there are always less distractions. They say, as within so without, and my problems definitely manifest on the trail in ways that allow me to hash them out.
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