Day 112: A New Friend

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I woke this morning, stumbled out of my tent (creaking and ouching like the busted up creature I have become), and called my dad back. I had failed to call last week, and my plethora of sometimes high, often low blogs had him worried.

He did a mental health check, told me my hormones were all akimbo, and sent me back on my way. He even launched a Facebook campaign to send me love and light, much like the moment in Peter Pan when he asks the audience to believe. And, again like the play, I perked up and lived!

Later in the day, after I ate a huge portion of omelet and hash browns, a million cups of coffee, an orange juice, and a piece of blackberry pie with ice cream, my mom did her mental health check. She joked (I hope!) that they were ready to do a thru hiker’s intervention, and suggested I should ground myself (literally) by placing my feet in the dirt and feeling it each morning. 

 I love them both to pieces, and their concern brought me back to reality. This is, after all, just a long vacation (isn’t it?).

I hung around with Boomerang until the day became later and later. I didn’t want to leave the hammock and friends and grass and not hiking that was town. And I certainly didn’t want to leave my sweetheart, having only spent a few hours together this short off trail stop.

At 2pm I peeled myself away from the lawn of the cute Bed and Breakfast where we were camped and got myself back on trail.

The smoke was thick and everywhere. A huge helicopter passed me close, off to fight the fires I assume. I was nervous about it all.

And then, just a few miles in, I got a ringing and dinging of texts from B. The quiet queer person I had been trying to become friends with in the last section (to no avail, apparently) had flagged B down after our brief interactions in town and was excited to find others on the trail! She wanted to be friends with me, and B told me to watch out — I might have a hiking partner for a while!

I was thrilled at the match up (finding hiking friends feels extremely like dating: “do they like me? Will we get along? Will we camp together? Should I take off in the morning, or wait for them to hike with me?”), and settled down for a long dinner.

Ah! A friend! Another one of the extended family I have everywhere I go! Somehow, other LGBT people feel safe and warm and friendly in a way that I hunger for on this trail, which is so very not queer (and sometimes aggressively anti-queer). 

 She found me just as I was packing up from dinner. It was so fun to walk and talk again, to meet someone new, to chat about the little things that get old on the trail, to wonder together at the beauty, to explore someone else’s mind. We hiked into the night, through the smoke and the eerie red sunset. We covered tons of ground, both physically and mentally.

And now, tucked away in my sleeping bag, I can be giddy with the thought of what tomorrow may bring.

A new friend, and the trail becomes joyful again (or it could be those insane hormones playing bongos on my emotional state — either way, this feels fun).