Connecting the Dots with Mosquito Bites
SOBO is No Joke
It sucks. Going southbound sucks. Not all the time obviously, but getting thrown in to around 11 days in the wilderness is never easy. No matter how dialed, how planned, or how strong you think the body and mind is, having to crush mosquitoes inside your head net and swat them away from the private bits as you pee isn’t grand.
You are a Deer In Headlights
Katahdin is a rough hike or low grade scramble. It leaves the knees shaking from the beauty and elevation. Seeing an old wooden sign made some tear up, others rejoice, and I was just surprisingly neutral. It doesn’t feel real.
Nothing will feel real until the first day where mosquitoes destroy any exposed skin. Pretty much the entire way even Maine townies were like,
“Damn boy you got ate up!”
To say the least I was questioning everything. You will ask questions like,
“Who the hell leaves good friends and the potential to start a good career for some sadistic trail?”
Much like how the character appears in Star Wars, I saw a sun-kissed, chipper, bearded man booking it down the trail. His name was Yota (Yep, Yoda with a T).
I stepped aside, as to not mess up his airpod-induced groove. We exchanged simple, common banter, before he asked,
“Is this your first thru-hike?”
I respond no, but the inflection of his tone made my mood change for sure. He complimented my pack, and said you’re doing the trail right. Even in my awful first day, where I would later cry into a hat to sleep, this man was sentimental about the trail.
Reflected from his eyes were tears of gratitude I now share as I rest. The trail is hard, but everyone who does it loves it. When you mention it they radiate on and off. That’s why I am doing this.
I’ve gained confidence now, and learned to respect and love my body despite the clawing and gripping roots and rocks that slick, slide, and cut with no remorse. But you love them.
It’s all for that moment in your head where it goes silent and you feel the fuzzy and warm spots in between the people. I’d like to think that’s nature.
You Meet People
I’ve met a father and son. I’ve met a Canadian couple. I’ve met a visually impaired man from a monastery. I’ve met myself, thus far, with less anxiety despite hail, rain, and bone-chilling temperatures.
University will make your back ache, and a man dubbed Prometheus will warm you up by a flown-in lean-to on a hillside.
Knighting With Cork Grip
For now, I’m Shaggy. I’m recovering, eating, and drinking amongst other hippies and the like-minded. It feels good.
You need to invest in the body it seems though. The trail will take acl’s, bone bits, and strength, evident in a small gaggle here.
For now, I’m Shaggy.
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