This is a story of victory. It is a sad story yet has a happy ending. This is the story of my last day on the CDT and my reasons for quitting the trail.
I have struggled with thru-hikes in the past, wavering in motivation to stay on the trail, but I have always managed to push through and keep hiking. But this time is different. I have made the decision to get off the CDT in Copper Mountain while Matt has continued on, and I’m going to support him through the rest of the way.
Again, this is a story of victory. This is not meant to be a sob story or a slew of excuses. Physically, I am fine and even great. Mentally, I have been incredibly unhappy on the trail and am not doing Matt any good in being so depressed. The CDT is Matt’s dream, as is the Triple Crown of hiking. I have always wanted to be a part of that dream. In the past I have been by his side, hiking every trail with him, in what I thought was a supporting role. Yet, I’ve been unhappy for most of these hikes (a “Turd of Misery” to quote a friend) and finally faced the self-honesty that not only do I not enjoy thru-hiking all that much, but I’m also not being supportive of Matt’s dream by being so depressed. Simply being with him is not necessarily supporting him.
As of late on the trail, my unhappiness started spreading to Matt and my anxiety about mileage and my desire to simply check the trail off the list was too much for both of us. It wasn’t helping our relationship and it wasn’t helping our hike. For these reasons, I’m off the trail while Matt continues Northbound on the CDT. I’ve realized now, 6,000 miles later, that thru-hiking has never been my passion or my dream, and that I’m much better in the supporting role of Matt’s dreams and in the lead role of my own dreams. It’s time I start discerning between the two and living each role to the fullest.
So what’s next? Right now I’m in Steamboat Springs so I can see Matt in two more trail towns before I head back to Seattle and set up our life there. It’s time I re-enter the work world so I will be busy building our life while Matt hikes the rest of the trail before he starts nursing school in mid-September. It’s time I come to terms with my dreams and start confidently moving towards them as a parallel to Matt’s.
Yes, I’m incredibly sad that I quit, only because I won’t be spending time with my best friend, my husband, the man who I can spend 24/7 with and still love even if we are covered in dirt, sunscreen, and sweat. I have no regrets that I will not wear the triple crown of hiking and only hope that Matt successfully finishes this trail and succeeds in something he’s been dreaming of for years.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support. Matt’s still going to need lots of love and support out there, so please keep the wonderful emails and pieces of mail coming. The updates will keep coming from both of us, so stay tuned.