‘A kind question’
My plan for today was to walk 25 to 30 miles. Town (Dunsmuir) was only 40 miles away and I wanted to get as close as I could so I’d have a short walk in the next day.
The path led me up some high passes offering stunning views of Mount Shasta and beautiful pure lakes. I had every reason to to feel in my element but my heart just wasn’t feeling it today.
My left ankle has gotten tighter and tighter these last few weeks. The range of motion is restricted and today it throbbed. I had to keep stopping to rest it. Inertia grew.
I just wanted to be at camp, tucked up in my wee tent where I could stretch out and rest. I considered camping early but that would have meant a longer hike to town tomorrow – an unkindness for my future self. So I pressed on, feeling humourless and irritated.
A few miles before camp a petite lady walked towards me. A north bound through hiker. I stood aside to let her pass. After greeting her I was keen to move on but she blocked the path asking me questions about water sources. I felt mildly irritated until I checked myself. Water is everything! I told her what I knew and politely excused my self.
Then at camp I found an Italian couple already set up. They were super friendly. We chatted briefly. After nationalities, hike directions and trail names had been established I excused my self.
Too tired to cook, I ate cold chipotle and then cereal. All chores done I lay in my tent waiting for sleep to wash over me.
The day passed before me like a film show reel. I asked a question that’s really important to me. “Have I been kind?” (to self and others)
When we are sore, tired, hungry and thirsty it’s harder to be kind to self. And therefore harder to be kind to others.
I was glad I hadn’t judged myself for my injury nor for my lack of awe. I was kind in my actions. And this made it easier to treat others well.
Ultimately if I know I’ve been kind the rest doesn’t matter too much. We all have difficult days and they are to be expected on trail as much as everyday life . I’m here for it all – the highs, lows and middles!