Living in the Moment
Things on the trail are constantly changing, whether it be terrain, people, food, lodging, towns, weather or yourself. Just recently there has been an upheaval of changes in my life.
Back to the Beginning
I’m having to go back to the beginning, the lessons I first learned upon starting the trail. **strike up Disney’s song from Pocahontas, Just Around the River Bend** This journey is fluid, it is full of changes, ups and downs, experience after experience. If I try to control every aspect of this journey I loose sight of what is taking place around me.
This past week has been full of situations best handled in a manner of “it’ll sort itself out.”
After hiking together for five months my hiking partner and I parted ways. This was not what I would call a smooth transition but it happened none the less. When the next day came I spent the morning sorting out my mind, re-evaluating what this meant for me. What it meant was: I am only looking out for my dog and myself. There were no other responsibilities. There are some challenges I will face but for now they can wait.
Hiking solo has added a whole new dynamic to my day. My mornings are full of social banter with other solo hikers, we talk of simple things like weather and red squirrels (these are for No Shame’s sake). We enjoy a cup of coffee while the rain dissipates and find reasons to stop along the trail and watch the world unfold around us. I’ve met more people in a week than I have in the past month. Yet there is a quality missing, there is an individual who is no longer within this circle of banter. Friendships born on the trail are of a unique and special quality and are not to be taken lightly.
As discussed the trail is a place of change and growth, realization and adaptation. After a late start, leaving town was challenging due to some ‘real world’ stuff taking place, I arrived at the planned shelter with only a small amount of daylight left. I got camp set up and went to join the other hikers to cook up some dinner. Things were going great, fed my dog, had my food in the making, mashed potatoes were in order due to limited shopping options. I added instant milk, cheese, and some tuna. Stirred it all together and took my first bite… I don’t know what Betty Crocker’s using these days but I was pretty sure the sour cream had spoiled, my potatoes had a distinct sour flavor. I made a couple comments to the crew and decided there was nothing to be done, choked down 95% of them. A soft mist was cooling the air and a warm beverage was in order, I gathered stuff to whip up hot chocolate, poured instant milk into my mug and as I went to open the hot chocolate packet the distinct smell of lemon infiltrated my senses. I lifted my mug to my nose and took a sniff, yup smelled of lemon. Grabbed my bag of instant milk, yup smelled of lemon. Pause. Shit! I had Lemon-Lime Gatorade in my food bag… My potatoes were packed with electrolytes!!! I sat there for a moment debating how to handle the situation: do I quietly clean up from dinner and say nothing or do I bring this group of hikers into the humor of my error. Let’s just say I have changed my trail name with less than 200 miles left to Katahdin. I am now going by Gator Tater!!!
A Balancing Act
When you’re on trail it can be challenging to compartmentalize your life. To divide, immediate vs soon enough. I mentioned briefly that the ‘real world’ happen during my last town trip. I received a text explaining my 16 year old cat was at the vet, I quickly called and got an update. His lungs were full of fluid so they were going to drain them, he had an irregular heart beat but because of the fluid they couldn’t see his heart on the x-ray. Yes this threw a bit of a blip into my town day, instead of doing food inventory I was caught up making phone calls trying to sort everything out; update vet on preexisting heart condition, hope medication will do the trick and reduce cost of further medical expenses and invasive procedures (I’d rather not have a giant needle inserted into his lungs again if at all possible), update care taker on discussion and reiterate that I want my cat comfortable. I’d love to come home at the end of the trail and know I could snuggle with him BUT I refuse to put my own desires over his quality of life. ‘Real life’ is much more complex than making a decision between spam or tuna.
“Our journey as human beings is not about following a pre-ordained path, but about creating that path. Life rarely makes any more sense when things are done ‘in order.’ Life makes sense when we are centered in our hearts and we let go of resisting how our own unique journey needs to unfold in its own beautiful unruly way. “
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.