Trail Days and Sadness
I’ve been limbo in Damascus since Wednesday. It has been an interesting experience. I’m in the minority age range when it comes to thru-hikers. Most are in their early 20s or retired. I can’t party all night with the 20 somethings, but I’m not as idle as the retired ones. I had a lot of fun, but I’m ready to get back on the trail asap!
Trail Days made me realize a few things. There are groups that try to pull you in and make you a part of them. There is no such thing as a bed time…. in fact, no one cares about sleep. Food is abundant. Dog were everywhere. I’m so going to luxury camp this party next year! I miss my dog and will let her join me in 2 weeks for about a 500 mile section. Beer flows freely. Everyone here has one thing in common… the trail obsession. You see people you haven’t seen since your first week on the trail, and it’s one giant reunion.
With the reunion, comes a few painful goodbyes. This morning I said goodbye to Dur-pa-dur. .. who has hiked with us since day 3. It’s at the point where it’s hard to say I remember what it was like hiking without him. We’ve camped together every night and stuck by each other’s sides no matter what the terrain was like. The 3 of us made decisions and did everything together, but it was time for him to spread his wings and fly. We shuttled from Hot Springs to Hampton, and since Hooter and I have already hiked that section this year, we decided not to go back just yet. We kinda wanted to save that section for when we returned home and start the battle of post trail blues. Dur-pa-dur, on the other hand, decided to go back. It was our first painful goodbye, but he swears he will catch up to us.
Another goodbye was our dear friend, Poseiden. He was the first person we talked to on the entire trail. I trail named him Poseiden because every time I saw him on day 1, he was bathing in a stream. He gave Hooter and I our trail names as well. He told me to wake him up before we climbed Blood Mountain, but decided to sleep in and never caught up to us. We hung out all weekend and he was even my prom date. But we had our goodbye today as well.
I knew there would be sadness and goodbyes on the trail, but I am taking this with a positive outlook. It’s not “goodbye”, but instead “I’ll see ya later”. Hooter and I started the trail together, alone. We made friends, and even though we have to part ways, we know we will make more friends. We have realized what the term “trail family” means. We will always cherish it. We look forward to the new chapter of our hike and know we will meet some many more people. I’m usually only sad for about 5 minutes, so times up and it’s onto happiness!
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