That was it. Ive had enough. Im in over my head and its time to cut my loses and go home. It had only been a week on the Appalachian Trail and I already have bloody socks from all the open blisters on my feet. Its been raining for four straight days, and because of the hole I tore in the rain fly on my tent, I can’t even stay dry when I make camp. Apparently the 80 dollars spent on my camp stove wasn’t enough, because its a piece of shit that hasn’t fired up since night two. And the mosquitos!! Bloody fucking hell the mosquitos!! How on earth could I have forgotten the bug spray. To top it all off, the icing on the cake if you will, is the four inch gash on my leg from my most recent poor footing decision. Im done. Im tapping out. Tucking my tail and accepting the embarrassment of my 56 mile trek down the 2,100 plus mile trail.
“Howdy brother!!’ A loud voice coming from further down the trail. I looked up to see a man who could have literally just crawled out of an old clip from Woodstock. Hippy in every way imaginable. Sweaty bandana around his brow, long nappy hair hanging out the back. Dirty unshaved beard. And by the look of his well worn clothes, he had been out here for quite some time.
As he approached I finally replied “hello”.
“Got a leak there don’t ya!” he pointed down to the blood streaming down my leg. “Ya got any first aid gear?”
“Yeeeahhh..” I groaned as I spread some cream on the open wound.
“Your new on the trail, ain’t ya'” he smirked. “Less than 100 miles I’d guess. Let me lend a hand.” And without waiting for a reply he grabbed my first aid kit and started searching.
“That obvious huh?” He sat my kit down, and reached for his own bag.
“Brother, you look defeated.” Still chuckling at my obvious pain, he pulled a roll of duct tape out of his bag.
“Oh I have some gau…”
“That shit don’t work. It’ll fall off within an hour!” He pointed at his arm where there was a worn out, but still sticking band of tape around his bicep, with a slight trickle of dried blood. He proceeded to not so gently wrap my wound up.
“Let me tell you something brother. I can see it in your eye. You used to being in control aint ya.” He didn’t wait for a reply. “Well out here, ya can forget all that. Let go of control. Ya cant control the wilderness. But if ya willing to bend a little, she won’t break ya. What I’m trying to tell ya is adapt or quit. But decide right now.”
As he finished with the patch job on my leg, he slapped me on the shoulder and said “I reckon yer gonna adapt though!” And just as quickly as he appeared, he stood up and started off down the trail.
In that moment, I did what any person would…laughed at my momentary weakness. I tightened up the laces on my boots, took a deep breath, and headed off down the trial…in the direction of the unfinished 2,100 miles i committed to.