Monday, October 7, 2013

190. Mile 100

The moment passes without you even noticing. You had been looking forward to it for days, and yet it sneaks by you like your parent's birthday. The reason is because somewhere around mile 100 is when you finally start to feel like maybe, possibly, you could be getting accustomed to this hiking business. For the first time since you started, you are actually able to let your mind wander sometimes. That isn't to say that things stop being interesting. Rather, you don't need to stop and collect your jaw off the forest floor every single time you see a rhododendron grove anymore.

Before you were a hiker, the idea of walking 100 miles seemed preposterous. Sure, you think, I've walked way over 100 miles in my whole life, but it accumulated slowly over time. The concept of hiking 100 miles, unbroken, without stopping to do anything else other than walk, sleep, pee and eat? That felt almost impossible.

And yet, there is a moment when you come across a small stream, or some other insignificant landmark, and you have an inclination to check your guidebook. There, in plain print, you learn that you passed the 100 mile mark about a mile and a half ago, and you were too busy humming or picking your nose or laughing with another hiker to notice. 

At first you are a little bummed, cursing your past self for its inattention. But that moment lasts so briefly that it is quickly forgotten to be replaced by a sheer, all-consuming feeling of awesomitude. You! Little ol' you! You walked 100 MILES. 

You wonder how you could have ever been shaken by the thought of a 5k. Granted, it may have taken you anywhere from 7 to 12 days to get here, but the time doesn't matter. Your pace isn't important because you still got there. You still made it this far. And it's even cooler that you didn't just drop dead after 100 miles. You kept going without even noticing. You're just that cool. 

The longer you hike, you gradually start to forget to celebrate the passing of each 100 mile marker. But there is a little part of you that celebrates it quietly somewhere in your subconscious. It's the little voice that allows you to be able to embody yourself through hiking; you hike for the experience rather than the accomplishment. You are not hiking to be able to brag about it later in life. You are hiking to experience it as it happens.

But that doesn't stop you from letting out a whoop of delight when you realize how far you've come, and how capable you are becomming. 

You're a beautiful beast.

Clever Girl

This post is also my 100th blog post here on Trail Kit!

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