One of my goals for 2018 is to take one hike each month, outside of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. I had decided for my hike in February that I wanted to get a portion of the Arizona Trail, along with hike to the Summit of Picket post Mountain in which a mailbox stands on top with a log of individuals who have climbed the summit. After my hike, I briefly wrote in my hiking journal about my experience, but I feel I didn’t capture the emotion I wanted to convey to some future reader reading it, so here I am re-writing my experience on Wednesday February 14, 2018. The date is significant because Arizona turned 106 years old on that day and I planned to take a picture at the summit with an Arizona State Flag. I am naming this post, Ego vs. Higher intelligence, because this is clearly what I experienced 1st hand while on this hike.
Wednesday February 14, 2018
So today, I went and hiked Picket Post Mountain alone. This whole past weekend has been a string of bad luck for me. Sometime between Saturday Night and Sunday morning, someone threw a rock at my car window. The window of coarse broke, but didn’t break completely. Monday morning I woke up to clouds and decided to get my window fixed. Just as I finished getting my window installed it begun to rain.
My friend who loves to join me on my hikes said he would be unable to go hiking with me. I was a little disappointed, because hiking a trail like PPM during the weekday, one won’t encounter many hikers. I had been warned on Hiking forums that it was dangerous to hike PPM alone, that individuals get lost easily. Also, I had planned to hike the previous week with the intention of taking a picture with the Arizona State FLAG on top of PPM at the mailbox so it would be difficult for any photo taking sessions that don’t involve “selfies” I had never hiked to the top of PPM, yet my EGO was telling me, ‘You got this CRUZZER’
I arrived early at PPM at about 8:14am. I had read the hike was going to take about 4 hours round trip. I was in such joy seeing other vehicles parked in the trail-head parking lot. Yes.. HIKERS going up PPM! Thing is, the trail-head lays on the same route of the Arizona Trail. I saw NO TRAFFIC on the hike, and a lot of cairns to mark where the trail was.
There were parts while I was going up the trail that my intuition, was telling me, “Turn back Cruzzer..” and my ego was like.. “Don’t listen to that, you got this, this is one of the easiest hikes ever..” I proceeded. About 5 minutes later, again my gut sentiment was telling me to turn back. Nah.. I turn back and take some pictures. I can clearly see Weaver’s Needle behind. I had hike to see a beautiful site of Weaver’s Needle 2 weeks before. I stop, I sit down and drink some water. This hike is very easy.
One of my favorite hikes is Piestewa Peak, because I would hike it 3 times a week and the incline on PPM is nothing compared to it. I continue to ascend and then again, my sentiment of premonitions is to stop and turn back. I’m completely angry at myself at this moment. I have never quit a hike since October 21, 2011. I GOT THIS! Something within me kept telling me to stop, turn back, but my ego kept telling me to press forward.
I got to a point where I could no longer find the trail. This is clearly at elevation 3,388 ft. and just past the 1.5 miles in to the hike. I saw cairns right past a ledge, with a ravine/canyon. I was like, I’m by myself, if I fall, no one will know I am here. My instincts had told me to stop and turn back several times. So I did.
As I was going down, I met 2 hikers coming up taking a different path then myself. I shouted at them from a distance that I “quit because I had got stuck.” The girl said to me, “I know the part you are talking about, don’t give up! Come back soon and try again!”
“I wanted to get to the mailbox so bad..,” I replied.
Then I watched them for several minutes and saw how one of the hikers got past the point where I dared not cross, how? I don’t know, but I definitely was not going to fall in to the ravine. The incline of the PPM, until I got stuck, was not bad at all. I would rate the incline on Piestewa Peak as a more difficult incline to that point. I had only drank two bottles of water up to this point, which is what I’m normally drinking by the 2nd bench on Piestewa. As I descended further down, I met another hiker going up alone.
I shake my head again and asked if she would take a picture of me and my flag since I was alone, and would have no one else to do it for me. She asked why, and I tell her that it’s Arizona 106th Birthday. She agreed to take a picture, and we both went our ways.
My ego is bruised. As I walked down, I kept shaking my head in anger, disgust, and doubt. I did not meet “my mark.”
I wanted to see the mailbox at the summit, which also offers a 360 degree view of the beautiful desert around. I hope to give it another crack and go someone who has gone before and can show me the way. My ego fought with my higher intelligence several times, many times with my ego winning, but at the end. Mentally, my ego I was not strong enough to cross the ledge on my own. My higher intelligence won.
As I reached the bottom and then my car, it started pouring rain hard. I was not prepared for the onslaught of rain. I realized I had experienced a momentary glimpse of darkness and self doubt within myself. I jumped in my car, caught my breath and smiled and realized how blessed my life really is.
I will overcome my fear of being stuck alone on PPM. More and more, I am realizing that I can only really be stuck in my head. I will learn to let go of this, I also feel the strong urge that I must train myself to learn how to flow from a place of mental stillness as opposed to making decisions while in mental constant motion. I will come back soon.
My theme song for this hike is: People C’mon by Deltra Spirit