With such variable conditions came a variety of challenges. Originally, I wanted to try to complete the entire trail in about 100 days. In order to do this, I started very quickly, and had a pretty heavy bag as I hadn’t figured out what I would and would not need on a daily basis. By the fifth or sixth day, I was barely able to walk at Eagle Rock, near mile 100. I ended up spending 15 days at Warner Springs Community Center as I healed.
It was very hard to be stuck, unsure if I would be able to continue or not, having committed to others in my life that I would do this. I felt alone and unsure about what would happen. Someone gave me a book, How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh, which helped me ENJOY EVERY STEP from then onward, something I practiced daily for the remaining 2500 miles of my trip and continue to enjoy today.
My tendonitis required five to six weeks of active recovery, so this reading on mindfulness and walking meditation helped me practice the appreciation I had for walking. Over the course of my trip, I would visit the hospital three times for frostbite, tendonitis, and a three-week sinus infection.
There were countless other challenges, but I embraced these and other moments for what they were, enjoying the experience of the emotional peaks and valleys through each step.