“This trail’s so fucking long. La Lala La La. There’re so many stupid mosquitoes. La Lala La La. But I don’t care, cause I’m going home to see my babe, my Lovebug. La Lala La La.”
That’s about all I remember to my song of self-induced delirium. Sometimes climbing borders insanity. Sometimes it pushes you to the edge. Sometimes the line fades and you cross back and forth. I had begun to wonder ten miles from Titcomb Basin, my 100 pound pack broken and knotted around my waist, if maybe I had bit of too much. The thought of biting, that mosquitoes bit me in droves and sucked at my life, made me furious. Had I bit off too much? I really thought about the action of biting and it made me so incredibly hungry. I watched a hamburger dance ahead of me, pirouetting through the pines, spinning deliciously across the trail. Maybe I really was losing a bit of my mind.
I’ll rewind, if one can rewind, and take you to a time before a little bit of me snapped. It was a slow process, snapping, one built on mental and physical exhaustion. It took time. It took dedication. In the beginning, all I remember is mud.
My soaked approach shoes swung from a carabineer on my backpack. Their constant thwap made me think back to the rolling log that had cast me into the tumbling stream, or was it a river. I never know how to differentiate between the two, but for our circumstances, to make sure that you can see it clearly, I want you to envision a plummeting body of water that smashes into boulders and roars like some conniving carnivore. I sloshed through the remaining water and stood triumphantly on the other side. I spit as all victors do and watched as my saliva rolled into a ball of mud. Now I can read the foreshadowing, but at that moment I was oblivious. Up to that point the trail had been relatively calm, and so I smiled nonchalantly, sat down, and replaced my dripping shoes with sturdy Chaco Sandals. Not half a mile later my feet sank deep into the earth and as I pulled them forcefully out a loud slurping sound echoed and reverberated off the granite domes. Schlwap. Schlwap. Schlwap. The sound pulsated like a second heart for 11 more miles.