Mile 461/2650 (27 today)
‘Haters gonna hate. Lovers gonna love.’
The path of the PCT is about a foot wide. I’m hiking south and each day I meet many folks hiking north. As one gives way to the other we greet and sometimes chat more.
Today I passed an older man hiking north. He’d stopped to admire the view of Mount Adams.
We got chatting and he asked if I’m a south bound hiker. Then deadpan he says;
“Ah, so you’re just starting out”.
What I want to say is:
“After 25 days on trail..
over 400 miles,
biblical swarms of mosquitos,
digging daily holes to poo in,
being soaked to the skin and walking in blistering sun
with feet that are falling apart…
no I’m NOT just starting..
I hope the north Cascades bite your ass…”
What I actually say is:
“I’ve been walking for the last 25 days, nearly finished Washington..”
I’m feeling defensive.
A VERY small minority of through hikers have a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality. North bound hikers vs south bound vs Weekend Warriors etc etc.
Maybe it’s a bit like having new kids starting 1st year when you are in 6th form. A weariness. A cynicism. A feeling of scarcity of resources. (Camp sites, trail magic, rooms in town etc).
So much of what happens in ‘normal life’ happens on the trail.
We find difference in others. We create duality.
Wherever we are, no matter how idyllic, we are the same people that we were at home. And if we aren’t conscious we fall into the same ways of being.
And I’m not being very conscious in my interaction with this guy.
Maybe he’s being funny, maybe he’s had a bad day, maybe he’s a …. .
What do I have to defend? I don’t know him and I’ll never see him again.
So I bring our conversation back to what we have in common- this amazing landscape. I tell him how beautiful Goat Rock is and I hope he enjoys. He hopes I have a nice break in Cascade Locks.
And we leave in kindness. And look where I camped! Mount Adams at its finest.