VHS Tapes, Apple Fritters, Time Warp from Living in the Woods
Uncle Johnny’s Hostel to Indian Grave Gap:
Free dropped us off at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel so Voodoo and I could book a private cabin for the night. I asked the owner if he wanted to do an art trade and I could tell right off the bat he wasn’t interested. Out of politeness, he still asked to see my work. I wasn’t the type to push my business on people—if I felt even a slight bit of resistance, I would just drop it and give them my money. It was perfect for me either way.
An hour later, I felt really inspired to make him a something anyways, so I found some paracord in the hiker box and decided to weave a plant holder. Voodoo offered to cut some of his tent guideline since I didn’t have enough cord to work with. I teased, “Awe, you looove me.”
We took the morning shuttle that was headed into town and stopped in the local coffee shop. It quickly grew packed with city folk and thru-hikers. I felt a sense of overwhelm and felt called to be away from everyone… to disappear into my shell. I started to feel energetically drained, so I told Voodoo I would be going to get some space at the library and he followed along.
I loved the energetic aura of libraries—they provided an inviting safe haven for introverts. I felt grateful to receive a quiet space which inspired me to write and recharge. The employees of that library even had a cat named Story who just celebrated their 10th birthday the day prior!
Back to the cabin, we ended the night by watching That ‘70s Show on an old school VHS tape. A wholesome feeling of nostalgia washed over me as I reminisced of my teenage years. Like little kids, Voodoo and I picked the characters we thought we represented best. He said I was most similar to the character Jackie and him, Kelso.
The next morning, we went to get apple fritters at Dunkin’ Donuts. I felt really spacey, as if I wasn’t really “there”.
Voodoo said, “I want to know you more.”
“You keep saying that, but you’re not receptive to me,” I expressed.
“I feel like you’re being manipulative,” he replied.
My face reddened. I mean, he wasn’t wrong. I could see he was struggling to understand me and I wasn’t really giving him much leeway.
I said, “Honestly, I’m sick of teaching men what I want. At this point, I just want them to intuitively figure it out rather than always playing the role of teacher.”
He asked, “Have you ever thought that maybe you could learn something, yourself?”
Yes, I did—there was always a perfect balance of teacher/student roleplay between people. However, certain things I was no longer interested in playing, such as explaining to men how I wanted them to interact/treat a woman, only to have the next girl be happy as shit that someone right before them took the time to teach them. I was in a place where I was ready to be impressed by a man rather than the other way around.
He took it as me telling him he was incapable of being the man I wanted him to be and snapped, “I’ll just leave you alone.”
I let out a sigh. It didn’t help that both of us were so detached when it came to trying to form a solid romantic relationship. We were both experts at running away from anything that had to do with commitment.
“I want to stimulate your mind, not just your body,” he voiced.
“You’re far away from stimulating my mind. I require a lot and there would be no fun in telling you everything I desire,” I said.
My voice grew shaky and I began to cry. I thought to myself, Why are we were even trying to get into it so deep when it was never so serious to begin with? It felt like we went through an entire relationship in the course of only two weeks. The trail was such a trip in that way—time seemed to warp and collapse experiences.
He held me as I felt through the pain. Then, we decided to cool off and go on a walk to Food City. We bought a bunch of fried chicken wings and the employees even gave us a thru-hiker discount! Voodoo said he would carry it out on trail for the price of one chicken wing.
We danced the two step in the parking lot while we waited for our shuttle driver to arrive. He spun me around in his arms and I broke out into laughter. When we got in the shuttle, Voodoo kissed me and secretly played with me behind the seats. For a moment, the sadness disguised itself in the form of orgasmic pleasure.
Voodoo and I hiked out, eventually taking a pit stop at the Curley Maple Gap Shelter. We sat at the picnic table and devoured the entire bag of fried chicken wings while I chatted with a hiker named Grumpy. After he left, Voodoo commented how he loved that I was such a people person—always having conversations with those around me. I told him I wasn’t normally like that, I just happened to be in a place where I really resonated with this particular community.
After we were done eating, he caressed my leg and told me how much my body hair turned him on, not being able to understand why. I kissed his cheek… we broke out into glowing smiles and laughter… unable to take our eyes off each other. We praised one another for the beauty we perceived in each others presence; he told me how special I made him feel.
When we made it to camp, we set up his hammock between a couple of trees. Dusk came around, we cuddled up close and listened to the sound of an owl hooting close by. At first, I thought it was the sound of a wolf howling.
I felt so blessed to be held by my lover in such a comforting space of warmth and protection. Sometimes, I wished I could grasp onto those moments in time, but then I remembered that everything was passing and to hold onto people and experiences lightly. When I allowed myself be guided from love and a wide open heart, then I didn’t have to worry if our paths would have a change of direction. I could just breathe, for the love we shared would last for lifetimes beyond. All that was required of me was to trust, surrender and be fully present with whomever was in front of me right now.
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