As time goes on, it gets harder and hard to write about the experience I’m having out here.
This week has been really interesting in that regard, actually. I feel like I’ve been doing a LOT, accomplishing a LOT, yet I also feel curbed.
Curbed? No. To put it plainly, I’ve been feeling really shitty.
The Whites are HARD, man. I’m having a hard time. Sometimes.
AH, see? Hard to explain.
Moosilauke was Dope.
I climbed up that mountain yesterday like it was my JOB (well, technically I guess it is…) and it felt good. I got to the top with a group of people and we spent time together up there. We also only hiked 10 miles that day, which felt great.
Chill day, tough climb, even tougher climb down.
But we nailed it. Together.
Then I moved on to the Kinsmans.
And my world came crashing down. Yesterday was insanely hard for me to finish. Don’t get me wrong, the rock climbing part was fun. But being alone? In the rain? Slipping and sliding?
I mean, shit, it wasn’t even raining all day. It was mostly humid.
But I felt so alone in the middle of the woods. And I pulled so many muscles trying to stay afloat and upright.
Despite riding the struggle bus all day, I finally made it to the camp my friends and I agreed upon. It was 7pm. None of my friends were there.
I instantly gathered what had happened: they’re dudes so they crushed miles and got to camp before 5pm, thus making a group decision to hike the remaining measly 6 miles into town. Might as well right?
Yeah. Except that left me at camp with a bunch of girl scouts and no friends. I ate a hurried dinner of cheese and mustard tortillas by a quiet lake in the corner of camp and thought over my options.
By 7:45 pm I had the genius idea to go hike 6 more miles.
Smooth thinking, Wayne. Real good idea. High on caffeine and ready to feel something other than my own internal pain, I said goodbye to those girl scouts I just met (who were absolutely fucking baffled that I would even THINK about hiking 6 miles so close to sunset) and set out into the wilderness.
It was a pretty dumb idea.
I don’t know if you knew this, but even if it’s only dusk, the forest gets real DARK real QUICK. Super dark.
Was this a way for me to ignore my inner turmoil by putting myself in a scary situation? Maybe.
Did I end up safe? Of course!
In a shocking turn of events I didn’t actually get to hike 6 miles. I showed up at the Lonesome Pond Hut around 8:30pm and the lady working there said “oh my goodness please sleep on our floor it’s fine WHY are you hiking this late!”
Friends make you do some stupid shit, lady.
But I had an amazing first Hut experience!
The hut’s in the Whites sound very confusing, because “normal people” but a bunk and sleep there for the night but you can do a work for stay but you have to get there early and they can’t always offer you a place to stay or food but they also have such good food. It sounds confusing and intimidating. But in reality? It’s not really. You just DO it.
So last night when I showed up late, they offered me salvation.
Turns out that was an amazing move because it fucking RAINED LAST NIGHT. And I don’t mean simply “rained.” I mean the heavens opened up and it poured and thundered and lightninged.
Except I had no idea, because I slept through all of it. Can you believe it? Guru and Silverfish were baffled when I woke up oblivious to the havoc that was wreaked in the middle of the night.
It became very apparent it had rained hard when I tried to cross the creeks in the morning, though.
I’ve had a really difficult past 24 hours. Not the worst, but my emotions are cracking me down to rock bottom.
Eventually I hitchhiked back into Lincoln and found myself at Chet’s again.
He’s an amazing man. If you don’t know him, you need to. And the only way you will is if you hike the Appalachian Trail, or the Whites, and talk to people. He truly is a special human and scared me from emotional turmoil this week.
Tonight I’m sitting on a porch listening to GQ play guitar, he’s simply riffing and we’re all sitting here quietly listening as the sun sets.
This morning I felt sad enough to cry because all the people I’d been hiking with kept hiking and I felt truly alone.
But that’s not the case. It never is. Not on the Appalachian Trail. Styx reminded me of that when we talked this evening after tons of unexpected friends showed up at Chet’s. Turns out I have more friends that I’d thought.
Out here there’s always a friend right around the corner, waiting for you with a smiling face, so pumped to see you again. We’re all here for each other. And no matter how dismal you may feel, everything works out.