What I Appreciate, What I Don’t Miss
I recently stayed in town (Truckee, CA) for a few days as I was lucky enough to have grown up near the area and have a place to stay. I found that what I did and didn’t miss weren’t what I expected. I thought of that old saying, “it’s the little things.” There were other times things I thought I’d miss turned out not to be all that important. So here is a list of both:
Things in Life I’ve Really Learned to Appreciate
1. Familiar Faces
While I’ve loved meeting lots of new people on trail, there’s just something about the people who already know and love you. I got to see my sister and was so thankful to spend a day with one of my favorite people.
2. Real Food, of Course
This is probably everyone’s favorite part of getting to any town, but knowing where I was and having access to a kitchen meant I could essentially make anything I wanted. This was an incredible luxury I usually take for granted.
I got to fully relax for a little while. Usually even if we stay a night in a town, there’s a bit of a rush to get everything together and cleaned and get outta there.
4. Physical Activity that Isn’t Hiking
At home, I have a few hobbies. Along with hiking, I like to run, rock climb, swim, bike, rollerblade, practice yoga, you name it. You could say I like to keep things interesting. One thing I love to do in Truckee (because I have access here) is push off on a paddleboard and try my hand at paddleboard yoga. Well, I don’t claim to be all that good at this; the switch-up gave me quite the high and I returned to shore in the state of bliss.
I feel kind of guilty admitting this one. Unplugging every once in a while is great and the “off the grid feeling” lures myself and others to the trail. But, being in contact with loved ones is something I really look forward to when I get into town, and a longer stay meant conversations weren’t cut short. What can I say? I love my family, I love my boyfriend, and I love my friends.
Things that Don’t Seem So Important Anymore
1. Running Water
Sure, a shower felt nice. However, feeling “dirty” isn’t as much of an inconvenience as I thought it would be. We’re all living in our natural state out here, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I don’t smell other hikers, and better yet, they claim to not smell me. It actually feels nice to not feel the American pressure to shower upon waking, sweating, heading for bed, or otherwise participating in life.
I also thought I’d miss having a sink to wash my face and brush my teeth in, but I haven’t minded this absence at all. I splash my face into rivers, and that about covers my water flow needs.
2. Changing Clothes
When your day is filled with the simple goal of moving forward and seeing your reflection in the mirror is a once-a-week occurrence, the clothes you wear just have to keep you comfortable. You don’t really think about the fact that they’re the same clothes you’ve been wearing for weeks.
3. Stranger Danger
On trail, people trust each other. They help each other out with information of the closest water source, a needle and thread, or a spare piece of candy. You just don’t have to worry about the jerks or dangers of urban life. We also trust people off trail who are willing to help hikers out with rides to town, food, water, and other forms of selfless generosity.
4. A Bed
This last election he has actually bothered me the least—so much so that my worst night of sleep was actually in a town in a real bed. I have never been too picky about beds, say my trail sleep setup is definitely comfier than beds I slept in overseas. The air is cool, my sleeping bag is warm, and I have a blowup sleeping pad. What more could a girl need? Especially when it’s wet she gets at the end of 20+ mile days.
5. Constant Distraction
While I’ll be the first to admit the trail gets a bit monotonous sometimes, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in focus. I remember new friends’ names easily. I make mental notes and I actually remember. I live in the world of the audiobook I’m listening to. When I think about something specific, I zero in on it and notice things I wouldn’t before. It’s an unfamiliar level of clarity.
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