When I Listen To My Heart

July 3
Start: past Wolf Creek Pass
Stop: Alamosa, CO
Miles: 10

All day in Santa Fe I kept asking myself, “Why am I here?” I toured the sights with a half heart, bored by midday. I made my way north to Chama with an uneasy feeling in my stomach and wondered if I should turn back. But I hitched onward. I was pumped from my last hitch with an awesome adventure couple and left the trailhead in good spirits. But THAT feeling soon returned. “Why am I here?”

I awake at 5 am in order to get an early start. My fly is drenched and I move slowly. I’m on trail by 630am and make a quick 2.5 miles in the first hour. I dry my tent at little rock lake wondering endlessly about this uneasy feeling in my gut. My only companionship is a call from a marmot in the cliffs above me. I hike a quarter mile farther and sit down. “What am I doing here?” I have cell service so I relentlessly call my parents. No one answers. They must be in the garden.

I look deep within myself and I know I’ve lost my momentum, my motivation. Something which unfortunately could only be drawn into focus upon my arrival here. But I’ve made a plan to hike from Mexico to Canada. I’ve spent so much time planning and there are so many people rooting me on. How can I let them down? I’m a person who’s true to my word. The mind hangs onto this hiking notion much longer than the heart.

I believe that I’m physically capable of hiking to Canada. But do I really want to endure given that I’ve lost my motivation? These cool Colorado thunderstorms are tough. At this high altitude, even a slight dampness leaves me chilled. Plus there’s the lightning and hail. And there’s no hikers around. I’ve lost my community. I want to enjoy this hiking. And if I’m not, then I need to do something different. I know I should hike a bit more before making this decision but I just can’t.

I’m in the same spot for three hours. I talk to my parents. I message Allie on the PCT. Sunny skies turn dark and it starts hailing. Thunder and lightning dance around me. I’m about to leave but my tummy is rumbling so I eat lunch under my umbrella. And then I do what every hiker vows not to do. I turn around and retrace my steps back to the trailhead. It rains and hails off and on the whole way back.

After about 30 minutes of hitching, a car rolls in that has come back for me. They are the sweetest couple from Utah. Chuck and his wife offer me food and then take me all the way to Alamosa. I get a room at a local dive that kinda scares me. I lock myself in as I am in the depths of despair. I make a plan to get to Denver.

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