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Section B - Days 1 & 2: A Painful Blur

KM Hiked: 30. Territory: Blackfoot/NiitsItapi, Stoney, Tsuu T'ina, Ktunaxa.

The first two days of Section B are a blur to me. I left Coleman at 11, far too late, but I was delaying because I really didn't want to leave. My left Achilles was killing me, which I hadn't really noticed until I put my hiking shoes back on that morning, I was exhausted still, homesick, and in a general awful mood. I knew that I desperately needed another day of rest, my whole body hurt, and I was really worried about my heel. But every single room in the town was booked up that night because of a big ultramarathon happening in Crowsnest Pass that weekend, so I really had no choice but to press on.

The trail for the first two days, is endless gravel road and ATV track, the views are few, and the weather is bad. I limp painfully for the first two hours, feeling desperately like I shouldn't be out here doing this, before my heel relents to the Ibuprofen in my system and begrudgingly loosens up, still painful, but walking semi-normally now.

The clouds are low. The air cold and moist, with a granular cast of lighter grey against the darker of the mountain rock, making it look as though there is a fresh fallen snow on their flanks. The visibility is low, and the world feels steely and unforgiving. The road is hard on my feet. Everything sucks.

The two days blur together in my mind, my pack is heavy with 8 days of food and bruises my hips. The road is alternately hard, sending shocks up my legs, or muddy and filled with puddles. I give up trying to avoid them and splash on through.

I learn the rule of wet feet on the GDT. The rule is, your feet will never be dry. If you think they might dry out by the time you reach your campsite, you will have to do a river crossing just 5 minutes before you arrive. I have not yet hiked with dry feet on this trail.

I go up and down countless rises, and the daily mileage is too hard. I struggle to notice or appreciate anything around me. In fact, I am working very hard to not feel anything. All my energy is going towards putting one foot in front of the other. Both nights I fail to make my goal mileage and set up my tent on some unmemorable spot on the side of the road just as an evening thunderstorm begins. The weather is too bad to go outside and cook my dinner, so I eat a sad cold dinner of random shit in my tent before collapsing, comatose, until the next morning.

I have never been so tired in my entire life. Fuck this. I think to myself over and over. This is not fun. At one point, I just sit down on the side of the road and sob a body wracking sob I haven't sobbed for years. I miss my partner, I miss my home, all I want is a bath and a dinner and to sleep forever. The pain and exhaustion is too much, and I still have 6 days to go before relief...

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