Everything I own is soaked. My water has dead bugs and leaves in it. A mouse chewed into my crackers. So I stopped early today to recover from a mentally tiring day of hiking. I found an old Backpacker’s magazine left behind in the shelter and opened it up to read. Every day that I have been out here, whenever I say “oh crap” or am feeling the slightest bit down, something makes me feel better.
For example, two days ago I walked two miles on a side trail only to realize I had not seen a white blaze in a while. I sat down, ate a block of cheese, and the sun cracked a hole in the clouds to shine the light on a beautiful forest of fall leaves in the valley. Then, as if I was not already beginning to feel better, a day hiker comes up and upon realizing I was a thru hiker not on the AT, pats me on the back. I enjoyed the two miles of backtracking after that and the rest of my day was great despite my four mile detour.
So I was just waiting for something to come along and make everything better again. So while reading I came upon a quote that I ripped out that reads “I often find myself waking up at 11 p.m. to climb Rainier and wonder “Why do I do this? I spent a lot of money on college.” But then the sun comes up on the upper mountain, and the glacier gets lit with the morning light–and I go, “Okay, that’s why.”