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Monday, June 11, 2018

PCT - Day 50: 6/7/2018 - Mile 800 and bear encounter

Trail miles: 13.4 from 789.9 - 803.3
Miles walked: 14.6

Condensation covered my tent when I unzipped my sleeping bag to get up and use the bathroom. It was 5:15 am.  Normally I would just start hiking, but today I was really depressed, so I just crawled back in my sleeping bag and put headphones in and listened to some music. First, Le nozze di Figaro performed by Sofia National Opera Orchestra followed by The Sound of Silence by Disturbed, the some Joyner Lucas, and so on.

I finally extracted myself from my sleeping bag around 6:45 am. I was hiking fifteen minutes later. Once I slogged my way to the top of Glen Pass, I stopped and dropped my pack and scrambled up a ridge to a short 12,000 foot summit of some sort. The climbing was exhilarating and gave me a burst of energy and put me in a good mood for about 20 minutes, although I still hadn’t smiled today. As I was putting on Microspikes, Kate and Ziploc walked up. I hiked with them for about three minutes before the slow pace drove me crazy. I passed them and jogged down the snow slopes, using my trekking poles for third and fourth feet. I was being reckless a bit but I didn’t care. I passed a ton of people that were all moving snail-like for some reason. I get the impression that Kate and Ziploc were upset with my hasty descent of the mountain, because they basically walked right by me as I was sitting on a rock waiting for them. Once again something I did pissed someone off; surprise.

After descending Glen Pass, the scenery was spectacular. The Rae Lakes were amazing. I was still in an ugly place mentally and feeling lethargic on top of it. My body was shutting down. I desperately just wanted to sleep. After crossing a series of islands to the other side of the lake, I collapsed in the dirt on the side of the trail. I didn’t even take my pack off. I slept briefly and woke up when the sun was burning my legs. I got moving again but my body was failing. My energy level lowest it has been in 800 miles.

Regardless, I plodded along. After fording a lake outlet that was thigh high, I was walking silently down the trail and caught movement in front of me. I looked up and saw a thin cinnamon colored bear. He was on the trail coming the other way. He was only twenty feet away from me. I instinctively stepped backwards, but only one step. We kept eye contact for about five seconds. He then nonchalantly stepped off trail. I quickly reached for my camera but it had been stowed for the river ford I had just completed. Instead I grabbed my phone and got a couple decent shots as he wandered off.

I had a slight burst of energy after seeing the bear and after hiking another couple of miles, I saw Ziploc and Kate under a tree eating lunch. They invited me to join so I did.

After eating, I opened up to both of them and explained what was on my mind and why I was in such a dark mood the last 24 hours. This was met initially with some understanding, however I would later regret this at dinner time.

In the afternoon, I tried hiking at a reasonable speed, but my body was failing. I was light-headed, fatigued, and simply exhausted. My energy level was again in the pits. I wasn’t even really into the fact that we passed mile 800. The trail meandered along the side of an intense creek that had numerous waterfalls, but the scenery couldn’t even cheer me up.

Ziploc was getting frustrated with me. I could only repeat to her that I simply felt like shit. This dynamic made Kate uneasy too, or maybe she was also just sick of my dark mood and my related lethargic actions too.

At dinner, it all came to a head when Ziploc told me I was being childish. My dark mood and constant explanation of my slowness and exhaustion was interpreted as childish behavior apparently.

My response to her was a defensive one. I told her that nobody was forcing her to hike with me and she could go hike by herself if she wanted. I told her I didn’t give a shit, even though I really did.

It’s then that I realized that Kate is stuck in the middle of all this bull shit.  I decided I would separate myself from both of them tomorrow somehow to make this drama go away. I privately explained this to Kate so she’d understand.

I went back to my tent and cried. Last night, I realized my family at home didn’t love me. Tonight, I probably lost two friends, and likely my entire trail family that I loved. All this because of some mood swings that are beyond my control. I fucking hate bipolar disorder.

I guess I shouldn’t even bother writing about that too right? After all a mental health problem is just childish bull shit right?

I’m planning on waking up whenever I get up and hiking nonstop until I physically can’t move a muscle. I sort of secretly hope I fucking die in the process.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Man! It takes a lot of courage to open up to people. Just be mindful that you are giving us a wide open look into your mind. Ziploc, Kate and the rest of them only get glimpses of what you share with us. Keep sharing, know there's a bunch of us reading your journals and pulling for you. I guess you already have the answer, you said it on this post. You have bipolar disorder, just know this, when you're mind is going to that dark place, just know, just remember, bipolar means that you will eventually get to that bright place that makes you enjoy life and build friendships. I bet when Ziploc, Kate and the others read your journals, they'll get a better understanding of what was going on.