On day 8 I wrote in my journal:
“Now that I thought I was on the right track, the route got completely stuck. I had to squeeze all the way through plants, scramble over things. It was also very steep. It got muddy and I got really stuck. I don’t have walking poles and on this hill I really could have used them. So I tried to find a stick big enough to help me. And that helped, for a while, but it broke off at some point. At one point, after walking for about an hour and a half, I noticed that I had only progressed 1.2 kilometers. I thought this is going to be a really long day. My breath stagnated, I got little air and had to recover almost every 50 meters. My head was filled with thoughts. I had a hunger knock, I wasn’t aware off at that time. I completely hit my wall. I just didn’t know what to do and panicked. The thoughts that followed in an emergency did not help either. I will not make it, I am a looser, I will have to stay here, can I spend the night here, what am I going to do here on the mountain, what will happen then, and why I can’t do this, I just got a rest day. And more: you see, I’m a sissy, I can’t do this, and so on. Besides, I’m naturally not made for warmth, that doesn’t really work in my favor. The bag suddenly weighs very heavy, it is also heavy, but feels 4 times as heavy. The trail just gets crazier and heavier. The tree trunks, branches, mud, everything piles up as an obstacle, I even fall a few times, can’t even look in front of me anymore and get completely deep into mud puddles and panic even more.”
Short summary of that day. I called Cindy after a breakdown, she came towards me. It was very confusing because in my mind that wasn’t suppose to happen. But apparently it was necessary. We walked together to the campervan, I worte:
“The last part was still tough, but I managed to do that and it turns out that if I summarize everything I come to the conclusion that every time I think it is not possible, it is still possible. And every time I think it’s over, it’s not over anyway. It is an astonishing mechanism that we humans can still think things that are really not true in the end. I arrive at 10:12 pm, left at 7:30 am, and this stage is finally over. There, the camper is at km 153. So I covered about 16km in about 14hours. No, it is probably not something to write about, not a record but I can say that I walked in the dark for two hours. Perhaps most importantly of today: I have learned a great deal.”
And the greatest thing I reflected about:
“It’s about continuing, step by step. This is what comes with it. Difficult is the idea that I am vulnerable again, and have to show it again, but I told myself I want to show the real deal, so this is what it is. I also hope that other people dare to be vulnerable, not only during this trail, but also in life, so that other people may see that other people also feel, think and experience things. Because it is also important not only to show the beautiful pictures. But also simply showing the true images, emotions and experiences. In any case, I put myself vulnerable now and in the hiker world I may not be the fastest, fittest, sharpest and best hiker, but I do know that I am the same as you. I address the one who also recognizes himself in someone who dares to say to himself that he is just experiencing things. And I’m sure you can learn something from that. And if other people don’t want that, they don’t want it. I wish them the best and a good day.”
So, I only can do this one way, and that’s my way. Do you sometimes have the same feelings? That it is difficult to share what you feel? Or that you rather put on a mask?
I hope and request that you will open up too.