Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Springer Fever

As Dan "wingfoot" Bruce defines it..."springer Fever" is the almost uncontrollable urge to be back on the trail that hits thru-hikers of past years each spring.

On 27 March 2005, I began my journey along the trail. That day I only hiked 3 miles or so along the trail due to horrible weather and the option of staying in the Lodge one more night. I am no fool and decided to begin dry and happy. It was not the wrong choice by any means. Now, I sit here a year later having shared my experiences with an audience of 40-50 strangers, friends, and loved ones.

This past Monday, I presented my journey through a slideshow presentation at the Lakewood REI store here in Colorado. My power point presentation did not work and I had to wing it. For close to an hour and a half, I told people of my travels north along the appalachian trail. At the end, I got to chat with friends from the trail who live in the area and were able to make it to the presentation. It was nice having those who have the experience there at the talk to give me assurance. Every so often when I thought I was rambling on about nothing, I would look back at "Danger & Gravity" as they shook their heads in colaboration with my comments, thoughts, and feelings. It helped me to feel confident and continue with my presentation.

For the next day, though, I felt like I had not really said much of anything. As I thought of the presentation and all the people, I was unsure whether I actually was able to portray the true nature of the trail. Then, I began realizing it is hard to get a foreign concept across to people who have not ever gone on such an experience or have no desire to walk such a long distance. On my way to work the day after my presentation, "Springer Fever" was hitting me harder than usual. I looked to our grand Rocky Mountains and tried to create a way for me to hike the Colorado Trail and still work fulltime at REI. Knowing that was insanity, I quickly put it to the back of my mind.

Arriving early to work, I checked my email where I had an email from my friend, "Hardcore Hiker" and she was talking of doing the Pacific Crest Trail next year. I am more than ready to jump on another long distance trail and see what I can do. My level has decreased lately, but I am ready to see how much of a superhero I can be again. Part of me misses having people ask me why I am doing such a crazy thing as walking for days on end! Hiking and walking are in my blood now. With Mike, when he gets down or in a funk, he likes to go run. Me, I feel the need to hike somewhere or walk somewhere. Sure, I am training to run Pikes Peak this Eugust, but I figure if nothing more, I can power hike it as fast as some people can run it! Yup! I am a little smug on that one. Maybe that is what keeps me lazy occassionally. We will get on the ball though and start the heavy training. I have gained 10pounds back from the trail and am not happy with that look so I need to get a move on with my sumemr running and fitness activities. Some of my activities are going to include hiking the Colorado Trail in segments even if it kills me! I miss carrying my pack. It was my life and is still all I really need in life. Everything else is just fluff!

Many things are on the platter for the future and I just need to convince my hubby he wants to join me on some of those excursions. Some of them include things that he is interested the running. This summer, I am running Pikes Peak Marathon. Next summer, I am running the Leadville 100 if all works out right! We will see how everything pans out over time . Currently trail friends have plans to return to Damascus trail days the middle to end of May. Due to work, I am unable to go, but will plan on looking into it for the following year as I really miss the people I grew to know and love along the trail. It is a wonderful family of thru-hikers out there. Maybe that is what is calling me back to the trail. Unfortunately none of the same people will be there except a select few! Guess I will have to keep up connections with the friends here in the Denver area and retell stories of the trail with them.

Give me my next physical challenge please!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Life Lessons

So, it is almost that time of year when I began my journey! It is strong in my mind of the thoughts and feelings that attacked me then. Today, I find myself attacked by different thoughts and demons. In about 2 weeks, I will present for the first time my adventure traversing the land between Northern Georgia and the middle of Maine. Boy how I miss that journey! Some days, "reality" feels overwhelming! Other days, I feel as though I am an alien visiting a different planet!

Today, I do not know where I fit in "reality!"

As I move through events here in Denver, I realize I am just going through the motions for the most part! Recently, I applied for my old position as a coach for beginning runners. Yesterday, I was informed there were not enough runners to warrant me as a coach. Thus no position for this season. For the past 2 days, I have been very disappointed by this concept thinking it had something to do with me...

After all, "I just accomplished something amazing, why would anyone deny me?"

Of course, after the news last week of my only having the presentation at my home REI rather than there and the flagship store, I guess I have been awakened to the idea that I am not a superhero to anyone other than myself! That takes some getting use to, I guess!

These past few days, I am learning to enjoy the little slice of enlightenment I have been allowed to enjoy through my travels of self discovery! At the same time, I find myself very frustrated by these realizations of my growth. On my last posting, my aunt Carol posted a response of my changing the world through the knowledge gained during my journey! In response I can only say that I am only one person in a vast sea of self-consumed human population!

Along with my recent revelations, I look at my mother and the tribulations she has had to deal with in her life...
1. An adulter for a husband
2. Single parenthood
3. Emotional abuse from her employer due to fear she was more competent than he
4. Again abuse from her equals because they have nothing better to do than jump on the band wagon for fear they may be chastised for thinking for themselves and voicing their true opinions!!!

My mother's comment in a recent email really made me think of the trail and my difficulties in adjusting back to "normal" society upon my return. Here is that comment: " Is that why things like this happen - because one is tough? I'm going to turn into a wimp!"

As I look at my journey and some people's lack of interest in what I endured for 5 months, I realize that my mother created 2 wonderful daughters despite the hardships she endured! From that, she has grown and learned. From my journey I also have grown and learned. As time passes, we may be the only truly enlightened people. That frightens me! I can only hope the best for the world and what it may become. As time passes, I do hope to impart not only the knowledge I gained from being in tune with nature for 5months, but also the many great things my mother taught me through the years! To her, I owe my existence as well as the entire journey along the Appalachian Trail. She has always made me choose to dance! Thank You mother and I hope to continue to make you proud in everything I do! I love you for being my strength as well as my heart and head!