Before I went to bed last night I organized all my gear, setting it where I could quickly stuff it in my pack and set my alarm for 5:30am. Sometime between going to sleep last night and the alarm going off this morning something shifted.
It probably started yesterday in my conservations with Chief and Cookie. It seems they have had the experience of coming along an interesting situation, person, town or event and wishing they could stay and have more of the experience, whatever it is. They've written down names of towns they would like to come back to explore but in the same sentence wistfully saying they probably won't get back. Yesterday when coming close to the Fish Lake trail Cookie was plotting how he could leave his pack at the trailhead, run down to the cafe here, have a milk shake and run back, pick up his pack and catch up with Chief. In the next breath he said, "No, I gotta keep my eyes on the prize." And that's it in a nutshell. Motivation and single minded focus is what gets folks from Mexico to Canada in one go.
Clearly these are qualities I don't have, at least as relates to hiking the PCT. This reality has been sneaking up on me for some time now and has been a disappointment to me. On the other hand, I always said from the very beginning that I didn't know if I liked thru-hiking or the IDEA if thru-hiking. Clearly the idea is what interested me, not the reality. The reality is hard, dirty, hot (or cold) and buggy. It's also drop dead gorgeous, fun and empowering, when it is. I guess for me, at least recently, its been more of the former than the latter. Sad to say.
Eight days ago my goal was to walk north for two months, hopefully getting to Canada. Three days ago, as it became clear I wasn't walking fast enough to get anywhere near Canada, my goal switched to walking through Oregon, bussing back to Ashland, picking up my truck and visiting friends in the PNW, folks I hadn't seen in years.
When I woke up this morning I had no desire to put on my pack and walk 15 miles. Zero, zilch, nada. Not one cell in my body was motivated to continue on hiking. My brain tells a story of disappointment and failure but my body says enough. Which part do I listen to?