Friends and Relatives-
This is the hardest blog post I’ve ever written for one of my hikes. It’s also the last one I’ll ever write. The Arizona Trail beat me, and I am off the trail for good.
This is a big disappointment for me, and I’m sorry if this is a letdown for you. It was so much fun to post updates on my other two long hikes, and to keep marching along from start to finish with reports along the way. But it didn’t work out that way for the Arizona Trail.
Two things were different this time, one of which was unexpected. The main reason for my failure to continue forward is that my appetite completely abandoned me. I spent three days and two nights on the trail. My favorite meal has always been my freeze-dried dinner at night, my only hot meal. It’s what I’ve always had on my hikes. Both nights the dinners did not appeal to me at all and I had to force myself to finish them. In the mornings and afternoons none of my normal hiking snacks were appetizing. Furthermore, I wasn’t drinking enough even though I knew I should. When I arrived in Patagonia last night, the first trail town and 51 miles into my hike, I bought a bottle of Gatorade and drank only half despite being in the hot Arizona sun all day. I ordered a 10 inch pizza and ate only two slices. Just then I knew I was in trouble and couldn’t go on like this.
Secondly, and what I thought might be the case, I was going to be hiking alone and would hardly see other north-bound hikers. The majority of hikers for this trail had started in March and were far in front of me. April 4th was the soonest I could start. I don’t mind hiking on my own, but it was always nice to pass back and forth around other hikers. We would compare notes about the trail and socialize a little in the trail towns. That wasn’t going to happen here.
Maybe I should have quit two years ago while I was ahead. This failure three days into my third long-distance hike will sting for awhile, but it is up to me to put it to rest and move forward. I won’t let this failed attempt cast a shadow on my previous accomplishments. There are lessons to be learned from failures, and I’ll look for them. It might make me a stronger person.
I’m keeping all my gear. I look forward to weekend camping trips with my granddaughters when they’re a little older.