Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 31: And more Damascus

5/21: miles 0

I've heard the hiking bubble described on this trail as a slinky. The groups ebb and flow and you can bump into a surprising number of old and new faces all the time. Damascus has been a perfect example. The two nurses are here, Funsize, two guys back from before Fontana, a couple I've been flip flopping with since Hot Springs to name a few, plus a solid 20 plus faces I've never seen before.

I had planned to head out myself but have decided to add a little distance to try to break up the game of leap frog and I settle in for my 8th zero day of the trail. I constantly think about my PCT hike when I took hardly any days off and really regretted it so I'm taking full advantage out here.

Plus the sky is forbidding and I have good company so why not? I don't know why I feel the need to rationalize all my choices out here but I find myself constantly bargaining with myself.

And yes it did pour on and off all day

More hiker box fun, I'm loving the medical equipment choices out here

The trail community is small, especially when you start to do multiple trails and everyone has some connection to someone else. I've been hearing about a girl right behind me who does big miles and hiked the PCT last year. We run into her in the grocery store and find out even more hikers we know are lurking in town. I'm excited to meet her and she stops in at the hostel later with another hiker in tow. They've walked the last few days together and I watch as she flips between wanting to stay or hike on, solo but not, constantly looking to the other hiker indecisive and flustered.
I see so much of myself in this other woman. I hate making decisions, especially if I feel like they might influence someone else. I feel like I'm watching myself at every town, grocery store and campsite. Why does such a small thing seem so important?

I think one of the things I find so peaceful about long distance hiking is the simplicity of decisions. I wake up and either immediately start hiking or I don't, I walk north, choose when to eat and drink and just go. Anything bigger is still complicated, it's one more thing about towns that I dislike. I hate watching the indecisiveness because of how much of myself I see, it's just one more confirmation that I need to suck it up and work on it. There's an awful lot of time for introspection out here.

Our uptight caretaker hovers but also brings leftovers from a catered party so overall a good night. But as usual I'm restless and ready to hike out first thing.

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