Week 5: Physical and Emotional Recovery

Total Miles: 282.8

Miles This Week: 41.9

Location: I-40 Underpass to Rich Mountain Campsite

The Good: I’m back on the Trail. I took some days off and did some low mileage days. The stretch between Standing Bear Farm and Hot Springs has been the easiest for me so far. Out of all the places to come back from an injury this had to be the luckiest I could’ve gotten terrain wise. I’m not completely better but I’m definitely headed in the right direction and fast. I’m lucky my ankle turned out not to be that bad.

A brightside to falling behind has been to see familiar faces that I haven’t seen in weeks. I’m glad to see them all doing well because I didn’t know where they were or how they were doing. Catching up with how their hike is going has been a great distraction.

Hot Springs is my favorite trail town so far. The hiker love vibe here is everywhere! Or it could’ve been my afterglow from soaking in a hot tub at the spa. It was so relaxing and exactly what I needed. I’ve noticed in other towns that I feel differently than I do on the trail. It’s hard to explain but I know I’m not crazy because I’ve read other women say similar things. When I’m in the woods, I’m smelly, hairy, muddy, with scratches and bruises all over, but I just don’t care. I attribute it to the lack of mirrors. Then I get in town and catch my reflection in a store window or in the mirror at a hotel and that comfort of not caring how I look is ripped away from me without warning. Hot Springs doesn’t feel like that. Maybe it’s not the town itself but the time it’s taken me to grow into myself out here. Either way, I feel beautiful.

The Bad: Mexican food isn’t always a great idea.

I bit a tiny bit of the tip of my tongue off. It was hanging off and I couldn’t decide if it was better to bite it off completely to get it out of the way or to just leave it alone. Then I made dinner while I was deciding and accidentally ate it. That’s not even the grossest thing to happen to me this week.

Taking three zeros was hard. Really hard. I did it because I needed to but I didn’t want to. I wanted to be in the woods. I wanted mountains in the distance that I knew I’d touch soon. I wanted the sun on my face and my feet on the dirt instead of pavement. I watched people I knew hike on without me. For the first time I wish I had a solid trail family. I bounce between several groups and I’ve loved it but I don’t really feel like I belong to any of them. I’m not saying I wanted anyone to stay behind with me but I always hear people talk about where they want to end up or meet and how far they think they can hike that day. I’ve never made plans with anyone really. For a moment, wrapped in self-pity and an ankle brace, I wished I had that. Now I’m glad that I don’t have that. I’m glad nobody got guilt tripped into staying with me or felt guilty about hiking on without me. Also with family comes drama and there is ALWAYS town drama.

So I’m not where I planned to be right now but I’m still hiking and I can’t believe how incredibly lucky that makes me!

– Cyndi Loppers

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