I can do hard things!
My thru hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail is almost here, and I can’t hardly wrap my brain around the fact that I actually WILL be backpacking for 3 weeks straight!
And if I’m honest, I’m scared. Not of being out there alone or of things that go bump in the night (though I’m sure there will be jitters those first few nights on my own.) No, I’m scared that I’m going to fail. That my bum ankle won’t let me continue, or that other physical problems will crop up that will cut my time short. And while I generally have confidence in my abilities, there is still some fear that it’s too big of a task, that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, that my thru hike attempt will only ever be that, an attempt.
But then I remember the hike Hubs and I did a few weeks ago to the top of Black Mountain out in the wilds of Northern Nevada. That was one major hike. It was the hardest thing I’ve done in a very long time. Hiking straight up an extremely steep, rocky mountain (see the picture at the beginning of this post) is not most people’s idea of fun. When we started out, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to try it (it’s was Hubs’ idea). But I figured I’d give it a shot. And not very far into the hike, my stubbornness kicked in and I decided I WANTED to make it to the top.
And we did! One step at a time. Assessing the safety and feasibility at every turn. Finding the best route and making the best decisions for the situations we found ourselves in. It was a tough scramble. Every so often, I would stop and take stock. How am I feeling? Do I want to keep going? CAN I keep going? Is the outcome of pushing myself worth the possible negative results? (ie, my bad ankle taking a turn for the worse or possibly putting ourselves in a truly dangerous situation resulting in injury.) And here’s the biggie: am I willing to live with my decision if I choose to quit?
I think it takes a lot of introspection and self honesty to be able to fully accept a decision to give up on a goal. And while I never got to the point of truly having to face that question on the side of Black Mountain, I have a feeling I will at some point on my thru hike.
The title of this post is, “I can do hard things!” And it is a two fold statement. On the one hand, I am strong. I am determined (some might say stubborn). I am brave. And I am going to do this monumental task of hiking 170 miles around Lake Tahoe. It’s going to be hard, but I can do hard things! On the other hand, I fully realize that I might have to face something much, much harder than continuing on. And that is making the decision to stop. But I can do hard things! And if it comes down to that, I know I’m prepared. For while I am extremely excited about this hike, I also know it’s not what is most important in my life. Though my pride may rear it’s head at my “failure”, I know that in the end, even an attempted thru hike is an awesome thing, and I will be grateful for the time I DO get to spend out there.
The next time you hear from me, I’ll be back from the Tahoe Rim Trail.
One way or another.
And I’m excited to be able to tell you all about it!