Blues on the trail

Pacific Crest Trail on the mountainside

Noelle here: A couple days last week were super hard for me, as I contemplated quitting the trail. For the better part of one full day I could not get it out of my mind. My back aches. My shoulder aches. My Achilles heels ache. My calves ache. My stomach has rejected food for weeks. Basically my entire body is like, “hey! You’re 53 and you’re 40 pounds overweight! We don’t hike, we walk a few blocks to restaurants!” I’m so dang sore and my back is on a ragged edge. I feel so completely uncomfortable and uncertain and often anxious. It’s all new and I can’t fit this experience into nicely organized categories.

My body and mind battled me, but then I would walk around a bend and see this.

Amazing PCT Views
Amazing PCT Views

Or turn to look where we’ve come from and see this (you can see the trail on the next hillside).

Blue skies and mountains
Blue skies and mountains

Also, Steve shared with me that he thinks of this as our job now. I didn’t actually realize it, but he’s put us on a regular schedule. We take a break about two hours after we start hiking, then lunch (with trailside nap) two hours later and a final break in a couple more hours, before the next haul into our camp site. I know this is hard on his body too, he’s told me it is, but his spirit seems to be thriving! He was so excited by the big rattle snake we saw. Then at camp, he turned over a rock while setting up the tent, only to find a Scorpion! He was downright giddy! I was horrified and terrified and wanted to cry. Seriously. Cry.

I eat chips and salsa at Carlitas! I do not sleep next to scorpions! (On a side note, it’s the first night Steve brought his backpack into the tent! 😂😂😂) (on another side note, I didn’t know he’d seen a second one until I read his last post!)

This has been a time of learning what my body can do. A time of trying to be gentle with myself but also being genuine with Steve about my feelings.

We’ve sacrificed so much to get here and quitting is not an option. It’s easy to keep hiking, when I think about the flip side of missing out on the time with Steve out here. I want to experience this together. I want to wake up on mountain tops with him (even in 50 mph winds!). I want to start our hike each morning with a kiss and then chapstick (in that order because he doesn’t want his chapstick to rub off on me!)

Plus, we got here:

PCT 150 mile marker
PCT 150 mile marker

So for now, it’s one more step. Just for another day, I’ll walk with my best friend!

Idylwild statue
Idylwild statue

18 Comments

  1. Heidi Halverson

    BTW Noelle, if you are 40 lbs overweight, you are packing a lot of muscle in that compact body and you are stronger than you think.

    Reply
  2. Heidi Halverson

    Little by little. Every journey begins with a small step. Sounds like your limitations are much more mental than physical. Eat more protein, more fats, and less sugar. Sugar & alcohol are depressants. Eat ginger – helps with aches & pains. Focus on small milestones rather than the whole shebang. Try to make it to that tree, another mile, another day, etc. Your strength and confidence is growing.

    Reply
    • mcgarveysan

      Thanks for the encouragement, Heidi!!

      Reply
  3. maebiustrip

    Everything worthwhile doing is hard, don’t you agree :-).

    What I can gather from your posts, you are thriving even with the hardships! I hope that is the case. More magnificent views, people and spiritual / physical growth awaits! Just keep going, it will get better and better.

    — markus

    Reply
    • mcgarveysan

      Thank you Markus. The past few days have gotten so much better. I feel stronger emotionally and physically. I think we are thriving.
      Thanks for your encouragement! Last year and now.
      Noelle

      Reply
  4. JeffnSue

    Love your post! We are heading out in July starting at the OR/.CA border heading south. I am 57 and 30# overweight and understand every. Single. Word! We did most of the PCT a few years ago and now it’s time to finish. We are KOKO (Keep On Keepin On) & The Bald Guy. Hopefully we’ll see you on the trail because we believe in you and know you can do it! One step at a time!

    Reply
    • mcgarveysan

      Thanks KOKO and the Bald Guy! I hesitated to post it but am trying to keep it real! I hope we see you guys out here! Stay in touch as it gets closer!! Noelle

      Reply
  5. Tahnee & Whitethunder

    Hang in there. You guys are doing it! We are so proud and rooting for you every day in Denver! Sending lots of love your way and margaritas if only we could!

    Reply
    • mcgarveysan

      Love you guys! A cold margarita sounds great.

      Reply
  6. Briget

    Keep going! I am following along – armchair hiking is what I have to do now. 67 and sidelined with arthritis. I loved getting out there when I was younger – wish the PCT had come to my attention 20 years ago! I know hard this has got to be – rooting for you from Home and I’ll be thinking of you on those days when it’s just one foot in front of the other…repeat…repeat…repeat….*then look up and see Paradise* 🙂

    Reply
    • mcgarveysan

      Thank you Briget! I feel your cheers and sure do appreciate it! Noelle

      Reply
  7. Scott M

    Way to go! So proud of you both!

    Reply
  8. Mark Bryant

    The two of you writing about your thoughts and feelings is the best part of this journal. We are following your journey, and appreciate your commentary. Adventures (in my experience) are often not fun at the time, yet one’s enjoyment of the adventure only increases as you get farther from it.

    You’re doing great, both of you!

    Reply
  9. Colleen

    You’ve got this! Just keep thinking about the irreplaceable memories you and Steve are creating together. And, how !&$@? jealous you are making so many people! Thinking of you often – with a smile on my face.

    Reply
  10. Danielle Collins

    One day at a time! You’re doing awesome, Mom!❤
    Xoxoxo

    Reply

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