This post is a bit moody and broody, and those reading along for the trekking tales and pretty pictures may want to skip to the next entry. But it was part of the experience… so here we are.
Last night I arrived and, as has become standard for me after a day on the road, breathed shallow gasps between my teeth as I pulled off my shoes and tried to rub some semblance of life back into my feet. It hurt, badly. I’m stubborn, and I have a high pain tolerance, but the day’s walk had once again pushed it nearly to the breaking point. Nothing has matched up to the agonies after hiking Adrigole to Glengarriff, but I won’t say my evenings have been particularly pleasurable with regards to my feet since the walk began.
I thought it might be better, after a rest day, and the fact that it still hurt so bad nearly pushed me to tears in a way the pain alone could not.
Carl, who had watched me stubbornly clamber my way up and down mountains multiple times during this trip, sat on the bed across the room and looked at me. “As your friend,” he said reluctantly, “I think you’ve got to do something. This isn’t the way to end every day.”
I brooded over dinner, over a beer, over a second beer.
I’ve done some sweet physical stuff in my time (hiked up mountains, gotten a black belt, done triathlons, etc. etc.) I have done all this despite the fact that I am not exactly the physical ideal people imagine when they think of a badass; damned if that will keep me from having adventures and doing awesome shit. However, I have always needed to temper my ambitions with a degree of pragmatism and patience. (and when I don’t, well, I can do some crazy stuff but the price is not necessarily one I can afford to pay on a recurring basis.) Generally, I’ve needed to figure out how to work with my limitations, rather than pretending blithely that they don’t exist.
So there it was. I needed another rest day, no matter that I’d just had one.
And I needed to ditch some gear.
I wanted the option of camping out – I really, really did. And ohhh did it gall me to acknowledge that everyone who had thrown shade on my pack load might have a point. I mean, really, I did haul that damned thing up and down multiple mountains, at certain points driven by sheer cussedness and a desire to prove all those sideways remarks wrong. But though my muscles were more than willing, carrying all that kit was going to wreck my feet in the long haul. It was time to face the fact that I needed to let go of some things in order to keep going.
It’s a punch right in the bloody pride-glands, is what it is. But I was reminded today that among the other things we passed yesterday, somewhere, unmarked, was the sight of the first casualty on the O’Sullivan march. It was time for me to let all that pride be the first casualty of mine.
I weeded through my gear and stripped out all my camping equipment save a few emergency items (if I absolutely have to I have enough to make a night of it under a bush somewhere, though I hope I won’t need it), along with a number of other bits and pieces. It was probably at least a third off my original bag weight.
So. Crossing my fingers. We’ll see if this helps.