DON’T LET ME QUIT

Yesterday I ended late and was too tired to write an entry in this electronic journal, however today we ended even later and I am even more tired. Two productive days in terms of mileage, both over 20 but I realize it is not how far you go, its the journey. Sometimes I feel like I am hurtling down the mountain which can be fun but also can be a distraction to why I am out here.
Yesterday we stopped along the trail at Bill Ackerly’s house. He is a trail angel legend, a retired psychiatrist with a boyish manner. We then hiked a smallish mountain that was a prelude to the real White Mountains.
Today we climbed Mt Mousalacke, the first climb that brought me above tree line. It was tough. It was long. It made me doubt my ability. I thought I was over my fears but my anxiety started working on me. I knew I would complete this climb, I mean what was I going to do, drop in the middle of the trail? But what about tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that? As I got closer to the summit the pines got shorter until they were waist high then terminated at shrub level. I started to go slower and slower. Eventually when I saw the peak, I picked up my pace. The air blustery, the sun was out but in the far off distance I saw lighting. I tucked behind the rocks at the top sat on20150801_11211820150801_11381220150801_113901 some soft moss to make myself lunch. I called my wife and whspered, Don’t let me quit. What, she said. Don’t let me quit, I cried. I think everyone on the summit heard. The trail down some 5 miles was treacherous, complete with wooden steps and metal bars drilled into the side of rock to make the descent possible.
At the bottom the local trail club had cooked up some awesome trail magic. They even gave me a fuel canister. We then hiked another mountain, why not? Wolf, a much shorter mountain proved to be just as formidable with multiple peaks and tired trail that was muddy, rocky and slippery. After getting to Elijah brook shelter, we found it to be full of weekend hikers. So I set up my tent, cooked then went through my sock washing ritual before retiring for the night. Today I passed the 400 miles too go mark and the 1800 miles mark. I am not quitting.

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5 thoughts on “DON’T LET ME QUIT

  1. Hey brother,
    Keep the legs pumping and remember you can always take another step no matter the situation. At the same time this is not A&S so if you want to sit and stair up at the trees then do so, enjoy your time on the trail and never let that dirty word come into your brain housing group. You are not a quitter you have walked 1800 miles and now you are a moment away from finishing this tremendous achievement that so many hope to do but never have the fortitude to complete.

    When I was down and out I often would embrace the horrible of it all and say to myself “how lucky am I?”. How lucky are we the few who are brave enough to take risk and step out into the world of the unknown to confront and fight what we can not see and we are the lucky who will be triumphant in our undertaking. We will smile at our challenge and laugh at the adversity because we know we will persevere, no matter the task and the consequence. You have a story Andy and you are adding another chapter to your book another experience that is yours and the fear makes the story great!

    Next time it sucks and you are down and out, take a knee drink water and feel everything around you: the breeze, the sound, the taste of cold water, the sweat dripping off of your brow, the cold soil you are sitting on, and listen to the world around you that is offering everything it has as shelter, food, comfort, and the ability to grow.

    You will feel the energy of this amazing earth and turn into a billy goat as you run up the mountain!

    You are amazing Andy don’t ever lose sight of what you did for so many Marines and Sailors and how much you impacted our lives. You are on everyone’s team brother!

    Your brother in life,
    Eric

    Like

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