• Mary Anderson

Decisions and Blame

Mary Anderson began thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail in South Pass, Wyoming, on May 27. By June 7, her knee was in so much pain that she had resorted to walking an alternative route along the highway on crutches. Drivers were stopping to see if she needed help, and one of them, on discovering that she had a big blister on one hand, offered her his work gloves. After taking a week off, Mary will return to the trail today in Rawlins, where the temperature is supposed to reach 95.

 

By Mary Anderson

A trail angel near Rawlins offered Mary his work gloves.

One thing I love about hiking is how simple life becomes. My possessions are few and they all go in the exact same place day after day. Each day is similar to the last, though with enough difference to keep it exciting. My days center around pretty basic issues such as water, eating, sleeping, walking, temperature regulation and finding a good place to poop.

I've never been a great decision maker. I see too many sides to an issue. I have spent too much time worrying about the possible consequences of each decision. Out here I am forced to make decisions more quickly, unless for example I want to sit in one spot all night debating which way to go to get away from lightening.

It is pretty obvious out here that each decision has consequences. Every mile not walked to water has to be done the next day. Eating all the cookie the first few days means the rest of the week I will have none. Deciding to throw something extra in my pack is noticeable every single step of the way.

It forces me to be responsible for my life and to accept the consequences as a direct result of my actions. Unless I wanted to be silly and blame some unseen god for the weather, there really is no one to blame but myself. And while I do plenty of that at home, out here blaming myself is lower on my list. I'm either too tired, too immersed in survival, or too overcome with the awesome beauty of the scenery to have much room for beating myself up.

 
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