Mandala Third Eye Expansion
Deep Gap to Dick’s Gap: I was told that someone on my side of the shelter was snoring again. Huh… That was odd because I was the only one on that side. Weird.
Got off at Dick’s Gap—mile 69–and started walking the road towards Hostel Around the Bend. The owner of the hostel, Hunter, stopped to pick me up and gave me a ride the rest of the way!
First thing I saw when I arrived was a dragonfly pillow on the bench. I whispered “aloha” to my Spirit guide, Vadim, who always showed up in the form of a dragonfly, reminding me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I was only going to stay for an hour to charge up my electronics along with donate a few things to the hiker box. As soon as we got out of the car, I saw Hunter’s chubby cat and squealed in excitement. He put him in my arms before I even got a moment to take my pack off. I lit up as he melted his weight into my arms.
I went inside and got to talking to a new bubble of hikers. I tried to recruit everyone to my sex cult in Hawaii. Rizz was the only one who seemed most open to come.
The owners and I got on the topic of what I did for a living, so I told them about my art designs. They checked out my website and asked to do a trade with me for the night. A part of me wanted to push big miles, but I took a deep breath and waited to feel the guidance. The answer was “fuck it, why not!” The trail reminded me to take the plans I made with a grain of salt.
I assumed they would find something on my site that they liked and then my family would ship it out, but instead, they handed me a box of acrylic paints, a paintbrush and a canvas. Standing there with my arms full, I felt a nervous energy come over me—I hadn’t painted since Hawaii 2020.
I went outside, spread out a bed sheet on the ground and laid out the materials. I intuitively picked out the colors that felt most inspiring to me. At that time, it was mainly bright and cool colors that symbolized the cosmos.
I took the protractor and outlined some faint lines for a mandala. I breathed into the moment and gave space for the inspiration to blossom. Some hikers sat behind me and asked all about my hiking adventures as I gave them a live art show. They took notice to my macramé rings and so I took them off my fingers and gave one to each person that was sitting there. I told them I had been wearing them since the PCT in 2019 and that I was ready to let go of them.
One of the employees, Bear, came out on the porch and took a video of me painting. Intrigued, he asked what drew me to hike and simply put, I said, “To enhance my connection with God.” He really enjoyed my energy and generously offered to trail magic my groceries. He complimented my smile and said I brought an energy to the hostel that he hasn’t felt yet—said most people he met were very anxious. I joked, “Probably because it’s their first thru-hike!”
I felt so blessed that I could make art while on trail. There was a deep sense of euphoria moving within me as it expressed itself through the tip of my paintbrush. I lost all thought as my hands moved before I had time to think. What a treasure I would never forget. I noticed how ever since I stopped doing drugs it actually felt as if I was naturally on acid or mushrooms consistently. Especially when I was in an art flow zone, objects that were apparently solid would start pulsating and vibrating.
I finished painting just before sunset. I preferred the finished piece to be more detailed, but I stopped when Spirit gave me the signal it was complete. I handed it to Hunter and he said he loved it so much that he wanted to take it to his house instead of leaving it up at the hostel. So, if you future thru-hikers don’t see it there, that’s why!
Pinto voiced, “You go Freyja! You’re doing it… you really have your shit together. You could just walk up in a hostel and be like, ‘Fuck yeah, I’ll do an art trade, let me just draw up a painting.’” I laughed out loud and said, “Just because I can paint a painting does NOT mean I have my shit together.” Such a common perception that people seemed to have of me, whereas I, on the other hand, felt clueless about what it was I was apparently doing with my life.
Near the end of the night, we met Mr. Pterodactyl (Terry for short) a former AT thru-hiker. He trail magic’d us by making us hotdogs and burgers. Hiker hunger was starting to kick in hard. I noticed I wasn’t even remotely full after round three.
Terry told us funny stories of the things he experienced on his thru-hike. One time, an older woman took him into her mansion on a hill so he could take a couple of zeros. She was dressed as if she was still in the 60s. In the morning she would ask, “What would you like for breakfast, Mr. Pterodactyl?” We laughed so hard as he shared trail memories with us.
It was wholesome to witness how all of us hikers thoroughly enjoyed the raw moments of storytelling. No one was distracted by their phone or by other things around us. I was often tempted—when something great or funny occurred—to immediately write it down so I didn’t forget. This year, I wanted to sit with that feeling of rushed temptation and allow it to pass. I knew I didn’t have to rush to jot things down. Instead, I could choose to relax, for if something was meant to be remembered then I would recall it. I didn’t have to put that kind of pressure on myself.
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