Sherbet Skies, Aggressive Goats and the Stigma Around Pack Weight
Symm’s Gap to Laurel Creek Shelter:
I woke up feeling refreshed and excited to take on the day. I walked in the darkness and used my night time vision to scope out the trail. I witnessed a plethora of wildlife slowly wake up from their slumber while the cotton candy sky turned to sherbet and the golden orb began to make its appearance through the branches.
In the early afternoon, I met a group of wild goats who were very adamant about stealing my trekking poles and nibbling on my salty thighs. They started to become pretty aggressive and petty so I said my farewells to them.
During the day, I met a couple of hikers named Rope and Chance (who biked north, then hiked south). Then, I met a girl who was walking uphill and asked for directions to Kelly Knob. Her name was Carla.
She says, “I’m not going to lie to you, I’m really stoned right now,” then offered me a pot cookie.
I laughed and said, “No, thanks. I’m not into that.”
I completely forgot that I could’ve accepted it and gave it to another hiker once I got to the shelter. Regardless, I let her know she had very striking, beautiful eyes.
As though in complete submission, she said, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for saying that.”
By the way she looked at me, I could tell she was into me. She proceeded to ask if I needed anything since she only lived a mile away from the trail.
She locked eyes with me and said, “Seriously. Aaanything at all.”
I told her I would really appreciate it if I could do laundry and take a shower. She said I could definitely do laundry, however didn’t feel comfortable letting me into her house since she had kids. I decided right in that moment that I didn’t actually need those things. I didn’t want to cross any boundaries and I didn’t feel interested if there was no trust. Still, we ended up exchanging information.
Near the end of the day, I met an older gentleman named Phaedrus a few miles before the shelter. He was a 64 year old man who had a very sarcastic sense of humor. We chatted at a water source for a bit then continued hiking separately.
We met back up at the shelter and conversed about pack weight with the other hikers. Most everyone around me claimed their weight was around 25 pounds. I started laughing and said mine was around 45. I found the stigma around pack weight to be so freaking funny.
They asked what made my pack so heavy and I said “hair products.” I didn’t hear the end of it. Phaedrus even compiled a list of quotes I said over the course of our time together. Later, he offered me some of his excess food/snacks. He laid everything out so I could choose.
First, he pointed to a cliff bar and I said, “I can’t do bars anymore.”
Then, he pointed to some Knorr Sides and I said, “Nope, those make me gag.”
Then, he pointed to some tuna packets and I said, “Tastes like cat food.”
Eventually, I took one of his Snickers bars just to be nice even though I was sick of those, too.
Right before I went to bed, one of the section hikers began stretching next to me, so I pulled out my bamboo block and asked, “Wanna use my wooden block?”
Everyone was floored and busted out laughing to the point of tears. I defended, “It’s good for massaging. I haven’t used it in a month, but I plan on it!”
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