Cape Chignecto was a goal, a dream, a Bucket List item. I wanted to see the Three Sisters from up high; to take a selfie with the sign on the cabin saying Carey’s Brook.
In the end, I did neither of those things.
January is the month that encourages you to plan,and to make and work steadily towards goals. I feel it was not for nothing that I stumbled across the phrase “ Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.”
I took that literally.
I announced my decision to hike Cape Chignecto to all the world via Facebook. I inquired if anyone may be interested in joining me. I researched, researched and researched everything; training, gear, the trail itself.
Bought a bit of nifty lightweight gear. Made plans for food. Found a hiking partner or three.
Started a training plan which consisted of lots of hiking and as many inclines as I could find.
I was ready! I was prepared-or so I thought.
Turns out, not so much.
Actually, that is probably not fair. I DID know what I was getting into. I’d done the Red Rocks to Refugees Cove once before- maybe 20 years ago-so I knew about the hellacious ascents and descents along the trail.
I had aged- but physically quite active. But, it seems not ‘long distance ‘active.
It was forecasted to be hot. I hate hot. It can make me physically ill. But-cabins were booked, vacation was set, backpacks were stuffed with clothes, sleeping bags and instant coffee.
The hike…. Was tough almost from the get go. That’s ok-we expected that. It just kept getting hotter and hotter and the climbs -especially that last damn switchback before Arch Gulch cabin -went on forever. Every time we came around the turn-hoping and expecting to be at the top, we weren’t . The switch back went on and on seemingly up to the sky.
Yes, I exaggerate. A little.
Made it to Arch Gulch and thought about the next day-just as hot with even worse elevation.We decided to quit and got the hell out of there.
Quit seems an awful word, doesn’t it ? In this case, for me it is- makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed.
How could I just …give up on something I wanted to accomplish, on something I had broadcasted long and hard about on social media ?
Especially since I wanted to prove something… that I wasn’t too old to do hard things
It’s something I had to work through in my head. I even considered not telling anyone .
But where’s the lesson in that?
Because there were lessons.
I learned that:
I can’t be an example to any woman if I can’t show her it’s ok to change her mind. To let go of a goal when it serves her better. To cry uncle. To quit.
Quitting is not the same as failing
I am stronger than I realized and all the work I put in was not in vain.
I learned how to prepare for a backpacking trip and to access what could have been done differently.
I learned that I can carry a 25 lb pack on my pack, light a teeny tiny stove and operate a Satellite GPS device.
I learned that being honest allows me to purge that stinking thinking , let my friends and family step forward to encourage me and perhaps, let someone be encouraged and emboldened through my journey.
Am I done backpacking? I don’t think so. I have always loved Keji and there are nice little islands there to try.
I may not even be done with Chignecto.
I am not too old to do hard things. And also smart enough to know when it’s time to quit.