Break Time on Roan Mountain and Falling Out of Hammocks at Camp

Clyde Smith Shelter to Buck Creek:

     Last night, I had suggested for Voodoo to wake up an hour earlier to get ready or to sleep in and I would meet him at camp later that day, but that didn’t seem to resonate with him. This morning, I woke up to Voodoo’s alarm blaring music throughout the shelter—it startled me to say the least. He arose feeling upset and rushed—his mannerisms aggressive as he started to pack up.

     I felt a distressing energy come over me. I often had an internal alarm clock so I wouldn’t need to wake up to the deafening sound of a phone going off. I also preferred to be in a silent, meditative state for several hours, so it felt as if my internal rhythm got rattled.

     When we hiked out, he could tell I seemed really off put. He turned around and stared into my eyes to get a better sense of me.

     Tears rolled out of my eyes as I cried, “I’m really not good at dealing with anger. I just can’t tolerate it. I felt as if it was being directed at me.”

     He quickly softened up, dabbed the wetness from below my eyes and sympathized, “Baby, I really don’t want to see you cry. And I sure as hell don’t want to be that man with you. I don’t want to scare you away.”

     As we started walking again, he joked, “Strike one for Voodoo.”

     I reminded him (and myself) that he wasn’t the cause of any pain or suffering I was experiencing. Still, he apologized and wanted to make it clear that he didn’t mean for it to come off that way. Simply, he wasn’t a morning person. He felt scattered if he didn’t take the time to eat breakfast and make coffee before he hiked out, whereas I could just hop out of bed and start walking.

     We made it up to Little Rock Knob Vista and took a moment to stand on a rock that overlooked the rolling hills. The wind blew wild strands of our hair against our cheeks.

     He placed his hand upon my face, “I just really wanted to apologize again. I want to understand how you perceived the situation this morning. Did you feel as if I didn’t care about you?“

     “I felt more as though you were resentful towards me,” I reflected, “I never forced you to wake up early and hike out with me. If anything, I would be glad to get some solitude time and just meet you at camp. That way, we both could have peace of mind.”

     I appreciated that he really wanted to “figure it out” and clear any residual tension. He looked at me as if he was falling in love and kissed me.

     “I think I really like you,” he said.

     So cute, I thought to myself. I knew he wanted to say that he loved me. It seemed people were often hesitant to say it to me, but it never stopped me from saying it. If I felt it, why halt my expression?

     As we reached the summit of Roan Mountain, we both had the idea that we wanted to do some rope play. We found an area we liked and lingered towards it, not realizing we were only about ten feet off the trail, just above a switchback.

     Through the pine needle scattered trail, we continued our trek, now with a new found energy. When we made it to US Route 19E, we were given some money by a couple of locals who wanted to help us succeed on our journey. Then, we got offered some trail magic by a former hiker named Crazy Horse. He fed us a plethora of pastries and rehydrated our bodies with electrolytes.

     After we ate and chatted, we backtracked a tenth of a mile to set up camp by the water. He asked if I wanted the mesh sleeve to keep the mosquitos out and I said yes! He took his sweet ass time setting up the space… making sure everything was exactly how it was supposed to be. He put our sleeping pads and sleeping bags inside the hammock, along with our other nighttime necessities.

     Once complete, he said, “Okay, just be super careful getting in, because the mesh is super fragile and it was really expensive. I can’t have you climbing in the wrong way, otherwise it’ll rip.”

     I nodded and went in on all fours—which should tell you right then that I wasn’t experienced with hammocks. I moved my body over to make room for him to get in. He appeared really serious/focused which naturally, I found really funny. I tilted my head back and started laughing out loud which caused me to accidentally flip out of the hammock. I fell onto the ground, taking the entirety of the mesh net down with me. The clip that was holding it together broke and all of our stuff fell out of the hammock as well. I was in the mesh sac on the dirt with everything piled on top of me. I could barely breathe from how hard I was laughing. He looked at me as though he couldn’t believe what just happened—simultaneously, he couldn’t be mad at me.

     He patiently set everything up again and with a stern voice said, “Okay. I’m going to show you how to get in the correct way. You see, it is a very delicate process. Watch and learn.”

He slowly put his butt in, then lifted his legs into the hammock, lost stability and back-flipped onto the ground. He blushed as he stood back up and brushed the dirt off his body. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard—I was in full blown tears! Let’s just say, it took us a good hour and a half until we got into his hammock.

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