Day 68: Solo Hiking

I am currently in a swarm of mosquitoes. They are evil. But don’t worry, I now have put myself under my sleeping quilt, to slowly die from the sweltering heat. But again, don’t worry — this is a torture of my own making. I thought it would be dreamy to sleep right next to swirling waters, a mini waterfall to send me into and keep me in sleep land on my first night alone. I also have one side of me against a rock that drops off right down into the water — an easily defendable position (or so my tired, paranoid head told me earlier).
I have eaten, done all my chores, gave myself a mini yoga class and long foot massage, and hiked for a full day and it is still only 7.15pm. I only took two hours of breaks today, and I simply don’t know what else I should do to fill the time. 

 Today I passed eight people going the same way I was — and none of them wanted to talk. Today I said goodbye to my hiking partner of 700 miles, Rainbow Dash, and started walking totally alone. Today I found that sometimes I love walking by myself, sometimes I sob, and sometimes I am just unsure of what to do with myself.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t believe I’ve ever really been in the position where I don’t see people. I am a city rat. I like watching weirdos. I like watching normal people too, wondering how they live their lives. I like watching anyone, really. I like people though, that is the main point. I like bridges and buildings and buses and planes. I like roads and abandoned homes and trains and even water mains. I like things that say that people are around.

Out here, I am realizing, there really aren’t many signs of people — that’s the whole point, really. And without the trappings of humanity, and humans that don’t want to talk, I am in a strange place that I have never been before. I’ll just have to wait and see how I like it. 

 I climbed for the first five hours of my day. Woof! What a walk uphill. Before I climbed over Pinchot Pass, my plantar was kicking (déjà vu, you don’t have to tell me!) so I flopped down by a cheerful little spring, ripped off my shoes and socks, and sat right in the middle of it with my feet soaking in the chilly water. It was heaven.

To my right, before the pass, a marmot was poised high on a rock, watching me without moving. To my left, below me, another was perched in the same still manner on another rock. A tiny little bird, a little like a finch, hopped like mad and had beautiful black and white mohawk coloring that he kept flipping from side to side.

A man walked down the pass, finding me sprawled out in the water. 

 “That looks delicious,” he said in a delightful Spanish accent.

“I love being in the middle,” I replied with a huge grin (“Will you be my friend?” I was really asking).

“I’m in the middle of the f&@king river!” He cried back, exuberant.

He tripped along down the hill, and that was my human interaction for the day.

Other than saying goodbye to Dash, that is. She was tearful and fearful, and I was worried and fearful, only tearful late, late in the day — more full of dry heaving sobs than even tears.

We are both afraid of the future, for no one knows what it will hold.

I am invoking Archangel Michael, and hoping for one or both of my favorite hiking partners to come back to me, before I go mad with lack of human interaction or go completely feral. I don’t know which is more likely.