Sunday, April 23, 2017

Appalachian Trail: The Regret Phase

On my last day in Hiawassee I had dinner with four friends I met along the Appalachian Trail (AT) - possibly the start of a trail family .  I friended them on Facebook and have been living vicariously through their updates.  The downside of this is every post, every picture, makes me feel regret.  Regret that I'm not seeing these sights.  Regret that I am not meeting the people along the trail.  Regret that I am not hearing and telling stories from the trail.  The days since my return home, when I haven't successfully distracted myself with activities and Netflix, have been full of regret, second guesses, and what-ifs ... especially when I'm lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep.

It's been nearly a week and a half since I left the AT.  I still have periods of regret but they are starting to fade (Writing this post is bringing some regrets back to the surface).  What is helping is I know I did the right thing.  Yes, I regret not pushing through for another week but I'm not convinced that it would have gotten better.  I know my body could have done it but my heart wasn't in it.  It hadn't been in it for quite a while actually.

Back in 2013, during my second Camino, I had a terrible day walking into Navarette.  As I lay in the albergue bed curled in a fetal position the one thought that made it through the aching was:
"Strangely I never thought of quitting the Camino but not doing the Appalachian Trail ... that I thought about.  I figured I was not up to it, that I was having so much more trouble this time than last Camino." - from Camino 2013 - Day 13: Torres Del Rio To Navarrete - Dec 04, 2013
I had similar thoughts my first day of my Rocky Mountain National Park camp in August 2015 (though I didn't document those thoughts in my post).

Every time I discussed the AT with the Wife, in the back of my head I wished she would ask me not to do it.  While she voiced reservations, she always was supportive of what I was doing and would never had asked me to not do the AT.  I would have quit in a heartbeat if she'd asked.

The last time I had a major bout of uncertainty was when I heard of Gv's cancer diagnosis.  As I tried to absorb the news the one thought that kept coming to the forefront was "I don't want to do the Appalachian Trail."  I even told the Wife I was not sure I would do the it.  By the time Gv passed I had buried my little voice and changed my mind again.

I should have listened to that little voice.  I think I knew what would happen all along.

I will be doing one more AT post documenting my seven days on the trail.  This post will include some of the pictures I took.  After that post I will be moving on to what lies ahead for me ... whatever that might be.

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