Into the Fog

April 26 2015

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I set out early and started the long climb up to the gap where my dad and I began our section hike. The morning was cold and thick with fog. I was walking in shorts because my fever indicated it was warm enough for shorts, but it was a cold day and my legs were freezing. I spent the entire day walking wheezing and hacking, disturbing the peace of the forest and scaring away other hikers. I walked with Mak and Cheese for a little while, a couple who I had met a few days after Mother earth got off trail. I took a break with them where my father and I started our section hike.

This spot marked the furthest north I’d walked and from here on out everything was unknown. Everything was seen with fresh eyes. I took pictures of my lonesome pack and wandered on. I think it was important for me to be here alone, to think about what it meant to be on this hike. All my life people have been telling me that I shouldn’t go alone, as if women can’t go anywhere unpredictable, alone. I was asked countless times if I was hiking by myself. People were baffled that a person would hike the Appalachian Trail alone, but even more concerned that I was a female hiking alone.

Do you feel safe?

Absolutely, except in towns.

That night I met Miami Vice. I was nervous around him because he was a male and no one else was there. Now that I know him, I laugh at these thoughts. Fear seems so absurd. I wanted to stay in the shelter, but opted for my tent as I was very sick still. I set up my little, green tent in a corner of the site and watched people trickle in for the night. Paul walked by as I was making a Ram Bomb for dinner. It was my first attempt without Sam and I was making a terrible mess. Paul told us he was running for the next town to watch a boxing fight. I almost left with Paul, but I knew Captain K was ahead and he gave me the creeps. When Huck and Lean-to walked up I was happy that I chose to stay the night at the shelter. A good group of people was collecting. I enjoyed listening to Huck and Lean-to chatter in the site next to me. They invited me to drink and chat, but I felt it was my duty to be self-quarantined. I stayed in my tent and spoke with them from a distance. I’ve never laughed so much while in such a miserable condition.

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