4 22 2015
We raced along today in a group. It was a fun day, but very tiring. We crossed over big bald which was cold and windy. Fiddle, Sam and I moved quickly along towards Erwin. We stayed at No business Knob this night, and I met Rapunzel and Stache. I fell for the first time today. I had a dizzy spell and came crashing down. Sam and I took a break, hydrating and eating snacks. I was worried this might be the end of my hike.
Leaving the Forest
We walk through the flowering of Spring, plants that grow and die and bloom. But when we get to town, to where we grow and die and bloom, I can only find pieces of existence sliced up and shaped. I can only find remnants of what once was. Wide open expanses, wide open asphalt, roads going somewhere, full of people always never knowing where they want to be, who they want to be or ever what they are. Frozen faces left to litter walls, left to devices, left out, never knowing that they could be so much more: that they could grow and die and bloom with the world and not against it.
When will I let go?
When I learn not to hold?
I doubted today; I wondered if this was possible. I felt dizzy and out of control. I was lost in my own exhaustion, lost to the wild in a dizzy vertigo. I hate falling, but it does offer the opportunity to get back up.
People are so strange. It took me so long to realize how fucking strange people are and to stop worrying about how strange I might seem.
I woke up today with a terrible cold. My dizzy spell made sense and I hiked very sickly towards Erwin. We stayed a few days in Erwin at Uncle Johnny’s. Today we packed into a van so tightly that three people sat on my lap.
Mother Earth came to make sure I was alright and spent the day getting used to her new hearing aids. It’s been at least 20 years since my mother and I have had a regular conversation. My pants didn’t fit me anymore, so she gave me a new pair that used a tie to stay on.
4/25 Heyyyyy Cheswick!!!!
Miss Janet took us to a bluegrass festival today. The campsite was a bit sketchy, and I was feeling my share of discomfort from small talk about small things. I enjoyed listening to the banjos jamming, but I was ready to get back on trail. Camp was getting extremely drunk and rowdy, so I volunteered as a parking lot attendant until Miss Janet returned with a load of hikers. I flew into her van and waved goodbye to my friends as we headed back towards trail. I climbed into the backseat with this tall guy wearing silly thick framed glasses. He had a smug look on his face and was chatting everyone up in the van. I was angry about losing a nice day for hiking and very sad about leaving my group. We’d all been together for so long that I just wanted to cry about leaving and run at the same time. I was fed up with not hiking my own hike, hiking for a party I didn’t even want to attend, hiking to towns I didn’t like, hiking fewer miles than I knew I could. Maybe I was being selfish, but I’m glad that I got in that van because I met an amazing person who would be extremely important later in my hike and hopefully for the rest of my life. A new group started forming today, that didn’t fully form until Harper’s Ferry and certainly didn’t last very long. I met so many people on trail that I felt like I never really had enough time with. I hope we’ll have time to be together again.
I hiked out of Erwin alone at 5pm, walked about 4 miles and set up camp just before the climb to the first shelter. I watched the pink sunset disappear into the trees and felt a quiet happiness. I wondered about my friends, but enjoyed the silence of the peaceful forest. I was feeling brave, empowered and terrified. This was my first night stealth camping alone.
Sometime later in the evening Roo walked through my campsite after missing a switchback in the dark. I saw the light go by my tent and fear grasped my imagination. There was a person in my campsite, and I was alone in the woods. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t want to reveal that I was a female with the sound of my voice so I stayed quiet. When she said sorry I was completely relieved to hear another woman’s voice.