The night before Darwin’s hike was filled with laughter, a delicious home cooked meal and friends. Gear was packed and repacked as I watched from a safe distance and then sleep came. In the morning we woke up and talked over coffee then loaded up for the drive to Campo, CA.
We found our way up a dusty bumpy hill unsure if we were in the right place until the monument popped into view. Along with the monument was Phantom, a joyful PCTA volunteer answering questions and providing the first trail register for hikers to sign. I watched as Darwin scribbled his name, making the start of his hike even more official. I had the urge to sign it too but realized it was not mine to sign this time. This was not my path to follow.
I took pictures of Darwin and his friend Jaymes who would be starting out with him. I hugged Darwin and tried to bury myself in his beard, breathing him in. It was time. I could see it in his eyes. He was no longer mine but the trail’s and he turned to answer its calling.
I drove away from the monument and into a day full of driving, grocery shopping, and new responsibilities. I was able to help my first hiker. I found him on the side of the road barefoot, never a good sign. He was of course experiencing foot issues and so I gave him a ride into town. He apologized for his smell and I thanked him for it. He was already talking about home; I tried to tell him to stay.
I have ended my day close to the trail, hikers camping in the distance. I’m exhausted from the wide array of emotions I have felt. I peer sleepy out of the window of the van; the sky is big and full of stars. A large moon lights up the desert floor. I try to be part of all this.
(A Morning View From My First Night Solo In the Van)
Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:
Coming Soon! – A book review about a National Park Ranger gone missing….
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