It's odd what the human mind will use to support its self in times of stress.
High Adventure hikes take a long time. High Adventure is the name my scout troop uses for the hikes that go so high, that nothing is living anymore. I live in Washington, right smack dab in Seattle, and there are things living EVERYWHERE. There are plants and shit in places you can't even imagine, so to go so high that plants don't grow, in Washington, is really fucking scary.
We were somewhere, and the only name I can remember is Skyline Trail, wherever that is. Now, some of you may recognize this name, and begin to think that that's, say, not really that bad? Well yeah, it's probably not, but keep in mind if you think this you are probably a fucking beast. People like me, people who would actually read/ contribute to something like this (geeks) don't do shit like that. We are scrawny, and I am no exception, I just happen to do this crap anyway.
So this trail is about fifty miles, with killer vertical gain, and here I am with a thirty or so pound pack, and a beastly drill sargent of a scout behind me, forcing me to keep hiking no matter what the fuck I say, be it for break or for vital sustenance (water tends to be something the body cannot operate without). To his credit, he saved my fucking life. If I had gone the pace I wanted to on that hike, I would not only have gotten to the next site waay to late, but I would have gone batshit on the way there. I've seen what stupidly long hikes can do to a person's mind.
However, this was reduced to the mild agony of excruciating physical exertion, and the mind can cope with that easily. I thought of a goal, not one like those fucking self help things that piss me of like the next hill. No, I found something I so desperately craved at that point that I was perfectly willing to hike the ten mile average each day (though I checked the figures and it turns out it was more like twelve miles a day, ranging from seven to fourteen). I thought of food. Not just any food, because I am not a picky eater, and camp food tastes just fine to me (so long as it's eaten on the trail and not at home). I thought of the most deliciously wonderful food I could. Something I didn't get nearly every month let alone every day. I thought of a Subway's sandwich, my Subway sandwich.
Foot long white, with turkey, American cheese, mustard, mayo and olives, that's all thankyou and a chocolate chip cookie please. That's what I thought about, all the time. Hiking became a blur of physical movement, not worth paying attention to. My legs and feet did what they needed so long as I stared intently at the ground. And it got longer. Near the middle of the trip it became even more rare to my pallet, even more delicious. I added a seven eleven slushy to the equation. I thought about how I would go about getting the sandwich. I would have to walk, but hell that's not even an issue after this hellhole. I added a McDonald's hot fudge sundae. Damn, that's in the opposite direction of Subway. Screw it, I'll do it anyway. I physically NEED this after a hike like this. I'll go to the library too and grab a movie and just sit, and eat, and vegetate. I fantasized about this feast. Each hike took hours, that each seemed endless, and the obstacles in the trail got worse and worse at the distance for maintenance crews got longer and longer. But during the miles between campsites, my mind was totally occupied with this feast.
Finally, the last day, the last trail. Flat. Perfectly flat, and the most excruciating hike of my life (so far). I mentioned earlier what time can do to a person's mind. This hike was long. Fourteen miles, perhaps not long to you, but long enough for me. It is interesting to note that later on I would go on a two mile hike that was longer, and my friend only so far from mental breakdown, however I digress. This was torture. Every mile or so I would spy the next thing that SURLEY would be the parking lot. There! No. There! Not even. Where?! Just a little further. There? Ha ha HA!
Finally I made it. Finally after the monster hike. The one longer and more monotonous than any other I had done (so far) and I was here. Umm, no. We resaddled our packs and hiked that last stretch of poorly maintained gravel road to get to the place where heavy dust gathered on our cars. There will always be a note of helplessness in the universe so long as people can go through all that and return to the EXACT same view of the trail as when they started. We mounted our gear and battered and bruised selves into the various vehicles designed to port tired and worn peoples gingerly and lovingly away from the field of battle against nature and common sense. We left.
As I returned home. I dropped my pack in the kitchen, and a layer of dirt shook off from the shock. I took a shower and was mortified and humored to see my tan that I had finally earned in the scorching sun simply wash off (I have yet to get any form of tan, despite my unusual amount of sun drenched activities). I sat and watched Saturday cartoons, and was only sickened to think of walking outside for the next few days, let alone to quest for the feast that had captivated me for days, and hours of that gut wrenching torment. I have yet to taste Subway, Slushy and McDonalds ice cream together.
Such is one drama of the world.