I walked out with Flask. No-one had gone on ahead so he could take a few days off with his girlfriend. It was weird to be back on trail. Everything ached.
We took the first day back very slowly. I don’t think we did more than 15 miles. It was good to hike with Flask, but hiking with one other person was always awkward for me. We stopped and chatted a lot. I think we sat on a rock and talked for two hours today. We were up on a ridge watching hikers pass by below.
We camped tonight at a shelter with a raving lunatic staying in it. The guy was drunk and loud, brandishing an axe. Not a single person slept in the shelter that night. Everyone chose to sleep on the steep hills surrounding rather than risk a night with this shelter squatter.
I picked a small flat spot hidden away on the hill and Flask set up behind a large tree. All night sticks were falling from the trees bouncing off my tent. I was mostly terrified after staying inside for so long. My initial fear or the darkness, and of the unseen woods had returned. Although…I did realize in the morning that I had pitched my tent under a territorial squirrel. I saw it shaking the branches of another tree above someone else’s tent.
Flask and No-one are back and I am stoked! They seemed pretty tired when I first saw them again. I was working at RPH spackling the walls of the shelter (mostly because the men didn’t want to give me a hard hat).
The moment passed without enthusiasm which made me sad. We were all tired and I had been imagining seeing them again for so long that the present lost its luster. Why can’t we live as truthfully as we dream?
The first day back on trail after taking so much time off was difficult, but very nice. It was a short day and the hiking was cut with breaks. Flask and I sat on a rock all afternoon and chatted for hours. The weather is great! I woke to the sounds of birds in the morning, I hadn’t noticed that they were gone, but I missed them dearly. I saw the sunrise for the first time in a week and felt the presence of the forest coming alive in the early morning. It took me a few hours to gain any stamina or speed. My legs are sore and my joints are hurting. I hope this fades away.
I didn’t sleep last night because the trees were dropping branches on my tent. I had regained my cultured, irrational fear of the dark forest all night. I really couldn’t sleep, should have crawled into his tent. Scared of that too.
I’m still on the fence about all this, but you know I am relieved to not be completely alone for once. It gets sad after awhile. Lately I’ve been seeing people I was hiking with in GA. It is strange to see everyone again and quite nice. I’m much happier now- I wish I’d figured all of this out sooner!