Mountains, Hiking, Health, And Ego Management

“Now those are some serious hikers.”

Overheard from the Air Canada check-in booth, spoken by the two supervisors standing off to the left of us.
We might have looked mean, but I  was still hurting from my sickness while hiking.
The trail was many climbs up and down, and I  started having this knot in my stomach since the start, and it got progressively worse to the point i was vomiting the last evening.
With my situation of not being able to swallow water or food well over the next few days, and rain predicted for the next day, I told my son that we needed to consider a plan B.
Once we arrived at the end of this trail section we decided to head into Saint John’s for me to recuperate for a few days and let the rain pass. We had concluded early on that this section of steep descent and climbing was going to be too dangerous to attempt in the rain. (We would have to sit tight until things dried up if we got caught on those slopes.)  If I was feeling better after some recuperation time, we would then pick an easier section and camp out a few days by some lake by the trail and not move on so often and see how it goes.
The final night on the trail was spent in some deep gulch, after a very serious descent. I could go no further and it was getting late. We set up our hammock tents on the trees on the side of the hill, and in the middle of the night I woke up to my mosquito net torn wide open. That meant a sleepless night of fighting off the bugs. By morning I had little left in me after the sleepless night. I had to sit down almost every 100 meters on the climb out.
With my hammock tent torn, not able to get another, and no interest in running to buy a ground tent that I hate to sleep in, I decided it be best regrouping at home, and order a new hammock tent, and make another plan for now.
So, as decided, we hiked the rest of the trail  section and went back to Saint John’s.
We took a nights rest,  and though not the best yet, I was able to “stroll” the downtown that following day. We had a good dinner and took some nice photos of the city.
On the hightops you follow the Black and white posts.
Another surprise was our Oboz hiking boots. I never dreamed i could hike such terrain and not get blisters after three days. Even hiking the flat Confederation Trail on PEI I had sore spots or small blisters almost every day.
Yet, despite the toe digging up hill climbs, and rock wobbly descents, neither of us had any foot issues.
I felt bad for cutting Ben’s hike short, but he wanted to stay together, which was nice.
So, walking into the airport we may have looked the part of serious hikers to the Air Canada staff, with boots and backpacks, but, I personally was not feeling like a serious hiker, having to head home so early on.
“The trailing hiker is a big guy, clearly walking in pain. He is probably the star of their softball team, but his size is no asset here”   (David Miller. AWOL On The Appalachian Trail)
War Memorial in Saint John’s
The Duke of Duckworth Pub for dinner. Cod Chowder and Salt fish cakes.
Yet, despite the swallowing, stomach knot, and vomiting in the evenings issues, I actually felt physically stronger each day. The first day of climbing and descending saw my front thighs cramping  at times. The next day the thighs were fine, and the back hip muscles were feeling my body (which alone is enough to heave up a hill) and pack weight on the steep climbs.
The third day neither were sore for the remainder of our hike out. The body is an adaptive, resilient organism.
It’s humbling, and down right embarrassing to have a big dream or plan not come to realization, especially one you put out there for all to see. Many will form an opinion about your “progress” or performance.
The ego is a fickle thing. Keeps us enslaved to opinions, false selves, setting up images, making impressions, fostering much faking, and will push us into down right lies and deception.  It’s a struggle to escape the ego. We want to be, hope to be, seen as better than we are. That right there begins a life time of pain and hurt.
Although I failed in my goal of going far, we had seen some of the most spectacular bush, high top, gullies, gulches and ocean views after only three days in the bush
Also, made a memory with my son.
Was forced to confront my ego too.
I am glad to get home and rest.
And here I am,  home, and at the walk in clinic at 6:30 AM. All my blood tests the Dr sent me to get before leaving, are clear and very good. They did 18 blood tests or so, and I am as health as an ox in them all it seems she said. All but one.  My bad Cholesterol is off the charts. So more life changes required.
I ask my Zimbabwean Dr if eating lobster every day for two months of lobster fishing might have had anything to do with that.
She ordered no more shell fish, lobster included. OOOOPS!
I’ll see what plan B is.
Unfortunately, if there isn’t any, i will probably end up working on the new eel nets again, a task i was happy to take a break from as lobster season moved in.
Well Newfoundland, instead of almost three weeks, we got 5 days.
Maybe next time.

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