Trail Angel Daniel Quinn

August 13 2015

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After witnessing the wonders of the sky, we hiked across farmlands and came to a road crossing. The forest was laden with old stone walls and signs of civilization. One of my favorite things on the Appalachian Trail was seeing the stone walls that had been reclaimed by the forest. It made me wonder: “What was life like then?”

Most walls were followed by the constant culture shock of roads. It was like walking through the past into the present. For a moment I would forget when and where I was and only the forest seemed real.

When we hit the road Yonder decided that he wanted to go eat something at a small market down the street. I had it marked in my book for some reason, so off we went down the side of the road. As we passed a large red barn some locals started waving at us and saying that we should come stay at Daniel Quinn’s barn hostel.

We didn’t realize that it was in the barn across the street, but when we passed by on our way back to trail we stopped and knocked on the door of the house. We met Daniel Quinn and he invited us to stay the night. He told us there was a creek for relaxing and plenty of room to sleep. Yonder and I took a nap and threw a disc around in the sunshine. We took a very short day because my leg was really acting up.

Later in the evening I met Birdie and some other amazing hikers. Daniel Quinn took us to a community concert on a farm. There was live music, sculptures, flowers, dancing, food and a bonfire. The crowd was smiling and friendly. Daniel Quinn knew everyone and we were his guests. It brought me out of this anti-social place that I’d been stuck in for so long. This really helped me heal. I knew after this experience that everything actually would be more than ok. Whatever may come, could come to me with open arms.

The band played Hey Jude, so I made Yonder dance around and sing with everyone. The entire crowd was singing. The sound of the crowd resonates in my memory.

I still sang this song on trail when I was alone and afraid. I sang it almost every other day when I was hurt. Being alone and hurt in the wilderness is an exposed, vulnerable and visceral experience. It is the most complicated mix of emotions and thoughts I have encountered in my life. The more I exposed myself as vulnerable instead of independent, the more help and love and light there seemed to be in the world. To hear this song seemed like a perfect synchronicity.

I am exactly where I should be.

Daniel knew I was hurt from the get go because I had been limping down the road when he first saw us. He arranged for me to have a session with his friend who practices Reiki. She was full of good energy and excited to help. We found a picnic table for me to lay on while she did a healing exercise on my leg. Afterwards she taught me some stretches that I could try on trail. I am forever grateful to my healers. It is funny how much the world can change in one night… how much a person can change in one night.

On the way home our host recited lengthy poetry from memory.  We all laughed at how suave he was. We slept that night on a lumber trailer because the barn filler up! I always preferred to sleep out and the meteors were still falling. I fell asleep counting the falling stars.

Thank you Daniel Quinn! I sincerely owe you my hike.

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