Let the sunrise come again

DAY 29 & Day 30 - Campsite 697.2km to Campsite 731.68 to Dirt Road campsite

Open the doors and set me free

This section has been a little underwhelming. It's a difficult one for keeping the head in the game. I've really had to find the miniscule of things to keep me motivated. 

Let's be honest here; you just hike. Day after day after day. You don't actually do anything else, except survive. It can be really tough. I wake up, pack up MY HOUSE/LIFE, and hike. In 2 hours, take a 5 minute break and hike more. In another 2 hours, take a 15 minute break and hike again. You get the gist, but I suppose you can also understand what I mean by finding the motivation to just keep going when there is very little actually happening. 

Around me, this section has been one of my least favourite. There's been an epic amount of mosquitoes, and as bad a deet is, I've had no regrets in using it for about 3 days straight. The biting flies are even more intense than the mosquitoes. Apparently some northbound hikers actually left the trail in Oregon, as the first mosquito hatch was severely intense and unbearable! 

This section has been uninspiring and even stimulated thoughts of 'where to from here?' for me. Day 30 signified a month on trail obviously. Thirty days of HIKING. 

There's been nothing of significance in the last few days and that sort of played on my mind a lot. What more can come from this? I'm so incredibly used to a fast paced life that has purpose and checklists. A life that ticks boxes and receives completion. When you just walk and walk and walk, and there is nothing significantly happening for consecutive days, you start to question what else is there to occur? 

Everything about this section of terrain and elevation, was almost like I had been here before and was overwhelmingly uninspiring. The fire smoke and haze has taken away significant views of the three humongous snowy mountains out here and there is no reward. 

REWARD. Is that all we live for? Do I need rewards to continue? I was NEVER raised as that human. My parents NEVER rewarded me with money, items, food, prizes etc. because A) we couldn't afford that treatment and B) my parents don't even reward themselves! I did everything I do in life because I want to and love doing it. 

So why do I suddenly need these rewards out here? 

I have realised that my 'reward' out here is my association with the wilderness/natural environment. The views. The scenery. So when that's not being delivered, I obviously need to find the reward elsewhere. The answer is; when it's only you and the wilderness, the only other possible reward must come from myself. Ha!

My mind must control how positively and motivationally stimulating the world around me will be. If I want to be motivated out here, only I can control how I see the wilderness to keep me going. If I want to feel underwhelmed and bored, then only I can control that feeling. The world around us is only as beautiful and exciting as we allow ourselves to see it. 

And please, do not get me wrong. This wilderness is still beautiful. It just felt monotonous and unrewarding walking through it.

My friend, Maple, asked us the other day 'Are you a goal oriented person or an experience oriented person?' I didn't answer immediately. I really had to mull that over.

On day 30, it represented one month on trail. Yikes. That's a lot of hiking. Again, day 30 was difficult. Nothing spectacular to show for. Just a long 25 mile day. However, it started a little differently.

A last minute decision threw myself and my trail family into taking a PCT alternate route. This route would involve some road walking to get us to Cascade Locks a little earlier. Sounded fine to me and I was totally willing to give it a go. The plan involved walking 26kms/16 miles to the road and then possibly another few miles to town. Sounded doable, but it was tentative. It was a possibility. Hiking toward a 'possibility' is not a good thing for Gretel.

So I walked and walked. Nothing spectacular really was happening. I was just walking. 

After hours of hiking a really average day, I was first to arrive at the road. It wasn't great. The road had no shoulder to walk along and it was 4pm. The thing was, we wanted to walk it. Not hitch a ride, which would've been easy! We still wanted to officially walk a PCT alternate route. After waiting for the boys to arrive, we all decided against it. However, sticking to the trail meant consequently, the next feasible campsite was in almost 10 miles/16kms. UPHILL. 

I didn't mentally plan for that. I'd hiked to my 'possibility' and it wasn't possible. Now, I was hiking up an enormous incline to try and get to camp by 7:30pm! Which wasn't going to happen!! 

Again, I hiked. And hiked. I tried to collect some water along the way, but I was so tired and in such a mood, I decided I would have a dry dinner (not use my stove or water). I just wanted to get to bed and give up on the day. It was a treacherous uphill climb for me, especially because my body was incredibly tired and my mind was wandering into a severe negative zone. It was quite literally 'losing an uphill battle'. 

As I hiked uphill and finally reached my decided campsite for the night, I set up tent fast and got into bed. I lay there exhausted and ready to say goodbye to the day and I suddenly realised my answer to Maple's question. 

I am a goal oriented person who likes to achieve my goals through experience. It's the best of both worlds. The day threw me because I had a tentative goal and the experience was lacking because I was worried about 'where to' from the road. My "goal" for the day was not my end point. I needed an end. I had no real decision. Don't get me wrong; I'm happy to wing things in life, but I'm also an exceptionally level headed individual who tends to know when something is possibly not going to work out. I've always had decent instincts. Even since I was very young. I'd believe my parents would say that about me! I read situations and people very well, and I tend to always know when something just isn't right.

I realise I like to tick boxes and achieve points in my life. I don't require rewards or need a pat on the back for the things I do, but getting from A to B on the PCT requires me to hike the distance, and by setting daily goals of mileage and campgrounds to get to, allows me to mentally challenge myself and push myself further each day. Meandering along the PCT would be lovely, but there's only so many days of food one can carry and a certain amount of time one has before getting snowed on in the High Sierras. 

Everyone is different, but a little daily goal never hurt anyone. Goals are personal challenges. They don't need to be big and nobody actually needs to know about them, but you. 'Do one thing every day that scares you' - Eleanor Roosevelt. 

I think I've got that quote covered. 

- Gx


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