Small Trail Connections
It’s the end of week one and we’ve officially made it to mile 110, Warner Springs.
Adapting to life on the trail has been one of the quickest, most interesting experiences I’ve had yet. Being a person who loves schedules and deadlines and accomplishing tasks, the idea of simplicity has become so ingrained in my life. Walking, eating, and camp chores are all I need to think about, and for once productivity isn’t guiding my every action.
Without the long to do list eating away at me each day, I’ve had a lot of time to enjoy the company of others and be present in each moment. I’ve been amazed at how small the hiker world is and how quickly close connections can be made.
Team Foot Stuff has now expanded to a group of ten. Within our group, we have one guy who lives thirty minutes south of us in South Western Wisconsin, a guy from Houston who rock climbs and plays our favorite card game, and a guy who grew up a half hour away from my college town who practices meditation and is also interested in being a school teacher.
The biggest “small world” connection came last night though, after we passed mile 100 and came into a campsite a mile or so down the road. My parents surprised all of us by waiting at the campsite with some incredible trail magic, and then the next day came hiking with us to eagle rock.
We got to talking about trail names, and my mom began to explain hers. Her name, Glow in the Dark, came from a thru hiker during the 2013 season when my mom shared her story of continuing to hike while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for breast cancer. The hiker was so inspired by her story that he organized a night hike where hikers would carry glow sticks.
We had just recently started hiking with Joey, a guy from CA who hiked the PCT in 2013. When my mom started to explain her trail name and the glow in the dark hike, Joey immediately lit up. Back in 2013, he participated in the night hike in honor of my mom!
All of the connections, both small and large, have helped me feel immediately at home with this group. A sense of community has always been important to me, and having the chance to establish that out on the trail has been incredible.
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