Friday, August 21, 2009

Backpacking Day 2

Made it ten miles today! That was a great work-out. However, we stopped to talk to several thru-hikers along our way who aimed for 20-25 miles in a day, so I can't be so proud of my distance. Although, they assured me that ten miles was great for a novice.

When we arrived here at the shelter, there were about 8 young guys awaiting us. Too bad they had already planned on continuing further to the next shelter until settling in for the night. Bummer, haha. Everyone we've met on the trail so far has been more than friendly. Though I can recognize a lot of tired faces, they are all happy nonetheless. I sure as hell am having a blast and would love, love to try going for a longer period of time on my next backpacking adventure.

There is lots of talk in the book of which hikers can write in when they stop at this shelter about bears being near this shelter and using the spring. There are also entries warning us that we may be sharing the shelter with other creatures, such as snakes in the rafters, and bees. That's comforting. Hope I don't run into any of those going to the bathroom at night. Speaking of night, the noises last night were beyond phenomenal. It truly did sound like a live symphony, and since I was having trouble falling alseep (yeah, try sleeping without a pillow on a hard surface sometime) I was visualizing myself conducting the insects' orchestra, haha. However, the orchestra didn't really need a conductor, it was utterly beautiful as is.

After a long, restless night, we got up bright and early (around 7). I was too uncomfortable to sleep any longer and figured it'd be good to start hiking earlier while it was tad cooler. However, being in the 90's for consecutive days, it really wasn't much cooler in the morning. Though we did avoid the beating sun overhead for a few hours. After a couple of miles into the hike, we can to some large overhagning rocks overlooking a beautiful view of the mountains. We stopped there for awhile to take in the scene and load up on some protein bars. Go figure, my appetite has been pretty ravenous throughout this experience. My new appetite matches my new additional weight. Although I'm pretty sure it'd be impossible to gain any real weight out here with all the strenuous hiking we're doing. After our stop, we continued about another 3 miles to a cutesy, historical park where we breaked for lunch and talked to a mom who was backpacking with her two little boys. They looked about nine or ten years old! From doing this with my mom, I'm able to fully see that this is a great opportunity to spend some quality bonding time with none other than the one who birthed me. There are long stretches of trail where it's just me, my mom, and nature. This allows me to really get down with her, no outside eyes on us. She let me in on some of her childhood stories (which were actually quite comical, like the imaginary family of lice she pretended to keep in her hair), and I shared with her some experiences of my first year of college, my first year away leaving my mom in an empty house. Her last kid off to college, at the same time she begins to slowly distance herself from her irresponsible, often absent husband. A space she'd been dreaming of for awhile, yet almost too much space for her to handle. A new beginning for her as well as me. And there were also long stretches of the trail where we were both silent. At times almost reading each others thoughts, for I know her better than any other being in my life, and other times just simply enjoying each other's presence. This is the kind of experience that builds memories that stick. And I knew that those two little nine year old boys backpacking with their mother would have something spectacular to look back on, something that'd they never forget. And their mom was probably overly joyed to be able to share these moments with her two sons, be able to learn with them, be with them, and have their almost undivided attention, undivided company for those few days hiking on the trail. I thought about my own joy of being here with someone I admire and love as I drifted off to sleep on a bench in the middle of the park.

My mom woke me up after my much needed nap. We hiked to the uncanny, bear-tenured shelter which leaves me where I am now- comfortably sitting on a bench, leaning back against my pack which has positioned itself perfectly against a nearby, towering tree. We actually just got company, so it looks like we won't be alone (human-wise) tonight like we were last night. Maybe I'll persuade one of our visitors to take a hike to the spring with me and scare away all the bears. I'm going to go get on that...and go do a little socializing. Peace and Joy.

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