This isn't the first time in the past few weeks I've rolled over at 3a.m. writhing in pain, in fact it's probably been nearly every day for a while now. I'm killing myself here. The fact is, my body simply can't handle the stresses I've been subjecting it to, and once again, I'm feeling the consequences tenfold. I wrote a couple weeks ago about the changes I need to make in my lifestyle to get back to a better state of health, and the only one I've had somewhat of a success with was the quitting smoking. I've maybe had nearly a pack's worth of cigarettes in the past two weeks as opposed to a pack a day. But that ain't gonna save me..
I'll admit it, sugar is my weakness. Cola too. Most specifically, Coca-Cola. I swear they still put drugs in that sh*t.. I've got to get away from it. Before absolutely none of my pants fit..
Yesterday was one of those days of great awakening. I got up at the crack of dawn to drive a couple hundred kilometers and put my brand new chest waders to the test. It wasn't just the waders that were tested, my strength and endurance barely made the cut. How the hell could I let myself slip like this? I was doing so well before I moved out here. I just let myself go. Gained more than half the weight back, picked up all those horrible habits I had finally done away with, neglecting my health completely.
The hike nearly killed me. My goodness was the scenery ever gorgeous. Surrounded by mountains, wild waterways, fish swimming around my feet, eagles perched by the dozens in the dead standing trees.. It was enough to take my breath away. If my lack of physical fitness didn't get to that first. And if I keep going on like this, I fear that hike will be the last of it's kind for me.
I don't want that.
I gotta get back on track. Now time. No more excuses. Yes I'm broke, I'm always broke. I'll be far more broke if I can't get me arse out of bed to go make money. I want to come home from an epic adventure and write about how amazing it was to get out there, and not have to bitch about how it nearly killed me. I want to hook a fish and actually be able to reel the thing in on my own so I can take it home and eat it instead of getting all down about it and going out for sushi instead. I want the healthy me back. I know I only had it briefly, but it was enough for me to know how I want to live my life. With a lot less [preventable] suffering.
So yeah, the hike. My fella warned me that it wouldn't be easy, but I wanted to go anyways. Though there were a few moments I wanted to just call it quits [not an option, of course..] I kept on moving. I didn't turn back or wimp out, I pushed through. And I'm sure glad that I did. There's something so completely humbling about being at the mercy of the rising waters, feeling the pressure and weight of the river around my body as I waded deeper to cross. One slip and you're in there, one wrong step and you're gone. I could barely contain my excitement to see the fish stir up the mud around my feet.
The sky was layered with cloudy patches, the rain came in waves. Breaks between the rain were timed perfectly for breaks in our hike. We stopped on a sand bar for a bite to eat. We could hear nothing but the sound of the water rushing past, the eagles screeching all around us, and the rain drops hitting our hoods. As I munched my timbits I daydreamed about building a tree house on the side of the mountain, facing the river, having the huge dead old tree filled with eagles as the view from my front window. I could stay out there forever.
When we finally arrived at 'the spot', the water was almost a foot higher than when we had set out. The path was nowhere to be found, so we dropped our packs on shore close to a fallen tree and cast our lines. Not six casts in, I hooked a fat silver coho. Not expecting to have a fish on so soon, I didn't have the best hold on my rod. Before I could get into a better position to reel it in, the f*cker jumped and spit my hook. Damn it! After barely a minute of fighting the thing, my wrist was killing me. Even if I had been able to keep it on the line, there's no way I would have been able to land it. Where'd my strength go?!
I stood there wading in the ice cold water until my feet went numb. I didn't want to give up. The rain came on heavy, the river kept rising, and we had to call it a day. The hike back to the van was deadly. With the water as high as it was, some of the crossings we'd used on the way out were much higher than chest level. We had to find other points to cross most of the waterways, finding ourselves to be lucky we'd left when we did. Any longer out there and we would have been stranded, or swimming quite a way with all our gear. There were many beaches on the way out that were now more than a foot under water.
The rain persisted, as did we. I noticed a little caterpillar waving in the wind atop a single blade of grass, about to be overtaken by the rising water. I snatched him up, and carried him gently in my palm for the last kilometer of the hike. For whatever reason, having this fuzzy little guy at the mercy of my path made me tread more carefully, and I was focused less on how soaked and cold I was, and more on getting us both back to shore safe and sound. It reminded me to slow down a little, and take in my surroundings. Not to panic. Just breathe.
What seemed like forever later, we finally reached the bank by the road where Delilah was parked. I scrambled up the slope, fuzzy little caterpillar still in hand, and a giant smile on my face. I made it! Despite my shit state of health, I still mustered the spirit to endure the hike. I didn't collapse in defeat at the end as I figured I might. We peeled off our gear and sat in the van with the heat cranked as the worst of the storm blew in around us.
Never again I thought. Not that I never want to do that hike again, but I never want to find myself cursing my horrible lifestyle choices for not allowing me to enjoy the nature around me the way I'd like to. This has to end now. I must regain my health. I can not be defeated, I am not weak. The choice is mine and I'm making it. This is what I came here for.