Section B - Day 5: Isolation
KM Hiked: 25. Territory: Blackfoot/NiitsItapi, Stoney, Tsuu T'ina, Ktunaxa.
The next day, the reality of having only seen humans for 5 minutes in 5 days starts to really hit me. The isolation is making me a little weird. I keep stopping in my tracks, exhuasted, sitting down and not being able to motivate myself to keep going. I see a group of maybe 10 elk, surprisingly large, and beautiful. When they run away my heart is pierced with a deep loneliness and longing to run in a big herd like they do. Nooo, don't leave me! I think to myself. Friiieennddsss!!
I message my partner on my inReach (I am SO thankful I have one of these devices!) and tell her:
"You know when an ant crawls into your bag and then you find it in a granola bar wrapper days later and brush it out on the ground, far from its colony, and you're like "wtf are you gonna do now little guy?" I feel like that ant."
The mountains are so big, and so indifferent, and they spread out in every direction. Human footprints are obliterated by the animal ones. I normally love my alone time, I've never had a problem with hiking alone. Solitude, for me, has always felt like a warm thing that wraps around me, and I'm relieved of the complications of human interaction. But this is different. 5 days of complete solitude is a lot. I feel so small and lost.
I'm again consumed with fantasies about home. I want to be comfortable and to see my partner. I want someone to talk to. This isn't fun. I'm seeing beautiful stuff, yes, but am I even taking it in? I wonder why I am putting myself through all of this. The negative seems to be so outweighing the positive. And I am still in so much pain.
Other parts of my left leg have joined forces with my Achilles in the protest against this treatment I'm handing them. The bottom of my foot has cramped up painfully from heel to big-toe, and all my lower-leg muscles threaten to give up on me. Everything is tight and sore and my muscles feel like dry ropy leather dragging under my skin.
I try to distract myself with music, audiobooks, nothing seems to get me out of this slump. Eventually I cheer myself up by listing all the good things to come on this insane, insane trail: Shorter sections, food in trail towns, better weather ( it must get better, right??), my body will adapt soon (won't it??). I resolve not to give up just yet.
I camp by a creek and the rushing, burbling sound fills my ears, brain and body, and I fall asleep in better spirits. .