By the time I was dropped off in the morning I was too excited to eat. My pack was lighter, my plan was solid, and my head was in the game. It was 41 degrees and I might have stayed in the warm car a few extra minutes, but I needed to get our there and warm my muscles back up.
Now to try and describe the next several hours would read like a sophomoric melodrama, because it exactly was that. I found myself in tears of joy as I walked through scene after scene straight of my childhood memory bank, and adult longings. I was making Hobbit/LOTR references in my head, and stopping whenever I wanted to just to breath in the damp pine and unscathed mountain air. I told myself I wouldn’t share this part but wtf-ever, I am. THIS is what I came for.
I did not need a race, or a competition, or to prove myself, or anything more than what was happening in that moment. This was mine. My own. My Precious. (Had to. Bahaha)
I walked in a slow, intentional pace the rest of the day. I was still climbing a mountain but it wasn’t on a drop-off, I didn’t have to watch my feet; I simply enjoyed. No, no need of mine would be met by thru-hiking, that part was clear. My story was changing, as life does…with each step.
My Ego understood and went back to plotting something else. Meanwhile it dawned on me, something I will wait till this hike is over to share. It’s about social media and is a tangent so I’ll digress for the moment.
As I was saying, stories change quickly and the more I let mine evolve as a walked, the lighter my steps felt and a euphoria of sorts took over. Either that or it was time for a snack. I could do this hike again and again, and hope to. I decided tonight I wanted to camp it up right with a fire and cook my dinner. A campsite was on the map with a pit toilet!! Score. I would get there too early but didn’t much care. This was my vacation. I rounded a corner and saw my home for the night, complete with a fire pit. I squeaked out loud, put down my pack and did nothing but focus on getting a fire started. I never found a latrine though, might have been behind or underneath a massive felled tree. When you are camping, the world is your latrine!
Remember the cliffhanger from yesterday? A young German hiker passed as I was working on my fire. We chatted about our treks, and he had come over the pass I had previously pulled out of. He was alone. He had slipped on the path, one of his trekking poles went over the edge and the other had broken. This was a well- geared, fit, young man with a beard. (The beard is supposed to add relevance, lol) And he had that close call in the snow…my guts went cold. How terrifying for him. Thank God he was ok, and that I didn’t attempt that pass.
*Exhales*. He kept on, and a while later after I had camp set up, another young person, a med student/sent stopped by. He and a buddy were through hiking, but buddy had twisted his ankle and pulled off the trail, so he was day hiking. We compared gear for a bit and he was astonished at my weight for three days. After he showed me his full sized bug spray, sunscreen, cookware, etc…I told him to read some Ultralight books. Nice kid, hilarious conversation.
I cooked my meal on my stove! Hung my bear bag, and stood by the fire until the sun set.
The cold was worse than the previous night but I was ready. I thought. It just turns out I am a giant freezing baby all of the time. I put on all of my warm clothes, took out e-blanket, and made my cocoon. Then it started to rain.
My bestie, sending me off again
The fairytale shot. The tears and crap happened here.
I created FIIIIIIIRE!!!
Warming my tiny hand?