Bittersweet Washout at Mount Washington


Mount Washington from Intervale, NH

Mount Washington from Intervale, NH (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stood at the base of Mount Washington, one of the majestic objectives along the Appalachian Trail.  I was wrung out.  Exhausted.  I could hike no further.  Regardless where my heart was, climbing the summit and backpacking south would not happen for me.  At least not this season.  My ascent would come three years later.  My heart was pressed by a bleak heaviness.  I felt my stomach had been scooped out.  There was a hollowness there, like the gaping maw of an infinite cavern.  My emotional feet were pulled from under me, my physical endurance spent.  A tempestuous sorrow nearly buried me, like the cresting wave at the seashore knocks over a little child.  Vertigo.  Even my 32 pound pack seemed like the 55 pound burden it had been when I departed Springer Mountain in Georgia.  There was no compromise; no getting past it.  “Not to be,” the summit seemed to say.  “Not this day.”  For all that, the depressing finger punched the chest of my psyche.  It pointed and accused.  “Failure!”  I fended off the lie.  It was the end for now, a bittersweet washout.  I retreated in wisdom, with grace.  The mountain, sheathed in lowering clouds, was inaccessible.  But there would be another day.

Mount Washington: Highest Recorded Wind Speed Sign

Mount Washington: Highest Recorded Wind Speed Sign (Photo credit: jimflix!)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Hiking, Hypothermia, Long distance backpacking, Mount Washington, The Appalachian Trail, Timothy J. Hodges

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s