Day 1 and I’m feeling decently accomplished! Today’s hike was absolutely breathtaking. I literally walked THROUGH a rainbow. It was tough-going with seemingly endless uphill climbs and my shoes were soaked through about 2 hours in. Then I started pouring rain. After a mad scramble for my rain cover, I trekked on, serenading the (also seemingly endless) sheep I passed on my way. It was miserably cold, but I was in a shockingly positive mood and was happy to trek on in the downpour.
Around km 8 my uterus started to act up. And when I say act up, I mean that she apparently decided to rid herself of all she had been holding inside ALL.AT.ONCE.
Without getting too graphic, I bled through my underwear, my thermals, and my hiking pants. Visibly.
Bloodbath aside, I was also in an intense amount of pain. Over the last few months my once-regular period has become a demon of epic proportions. I’m talking cramps that have me writhing about my bed of pain for 48 hours. I feel as though a lot of people don’t take period pains seriously, so let me sum it up for you. The pain I feel is akin to a professional boxer punching my uterus repeatedly for hours on end.
So here I am, on top of a mountain, 18 km to go, bloody pants, cold, in pain, and utterly determined to finish the days hike. There was NO WAY I was turning around.
So on I went! Down that hill and up another mountain. Across not one, but two rivers. Over fences and through boggy fields. Quite literally, hiking through the clouds (which is just the most magical experience ever). And I was happy! The furthest I’ve ever hiked in one go is 20km and that was a one time event. I’ve done many 13km days but that’s the furthest I’ve ever consistently hiked so I fully expected today to be miserable. It was perfect.
However by the time I reached the lake (which is just a bit further than halfway at 16km in) I couldn’t ignore Ms. Uterus anymore. I took my bag off and hunched over, unable to even stand upright. Extra strength Advil was doing nothing to help so I decided to have my lunch and hopefully wait out the worst of it. 30 minutes later I could just barely straighten up but I was loathe to let my uterus ruin the day so I hoisted my pack back on and headed up the final ascent…only to get halfway and decide that it wasn’t worth it. I went up and down an additional 3 times (I have some minor commitment issues) as I debated what to do. Eventually I called it.
I was miserable, in so much pain I could barely move, let alone hike another 10km through the mountains. I want to enjoy this hike and I knew that while I could, most likely, push myself through the rest of the day it would a miserable experience. And that’s not the point of this journey. So I took the bail-out option and walked down the road where the ever lovely and helpful Jim O’Sullivan picked me up. All in all, 17.5 km.
Now I’m back in town and have just secured a place to stay for the night at an incredible discount (as I’m hiking for charity and everyone is eager to help however they can). I’ve hand-washed my clothes and am currently curled up in bed waiting for them to dry. The tiniest bit disappointed, but at the same time, quite pleased with myself. 17.5km is a long ways to walk, and there’s no shame in taking it easy. Quite honestly, I was never sure I’d truly be able to walk the full 26km as my first day on the trail. It’s a long distance for a novice hiker with 12kg on her back.
So today I hiked 17.5 km instead of 26. But honestly, I’m still quite pleased with that! Tomorrow – Glengariff!