People on the trail keep saying this strange phrase of “those pointless ups and downs.”
At first I thought it was silly. Why come out here and hike 2,192 miles if you think climbing these ups and downs are pointless? Can’t we all agree that once one reaches the pinnacle of a mountain, or successfully finds the road to a town after 15 or so miles of ascent and descent, it feels like none other? These pointless things they continue to talk of, I always thought were to mean elevation. Now I believe they mean attitude.
My attitude has changed drastically in the past month. It is as if my attitude changes with each week. Remembering that “mind game” I talked of a few weeks ago made me realize how often my mood can shift out here. Maybe it has always turned a corner that quick. Maybe I’m bi-polar? Maybe I have the normal aches and pains emotionally that everyone else out here have?
That latter statement is exactly right. I’ve met most people who share my same woes and concerns mentally and emotionally. Spiritually as well. We can curb the physical torment of aching knees and hurt heels, but what it truly comes down to is a mindfulness of yourself. Most people take this trip Northbound, or from Georgia to Maine. After speaking to a few dozen of northbounders out here, at lean-tos, or along the trail, they all claim that Maine is unrelenting in size and caliber. And they’re almost finished with their hikes.
So! Pointless Ups and Downs. That’s what I’m going to call these bouts of doubt, elation, sadness, jubilation, grotesquely smelliness, pride, and hunger. Between them all together, and I’m sure they will continue, there is calmness, peace, and acceptance for one’s self and everything about the trail; the people, the nature, and of course, the elevation. It’s not even remotely pointless.