Digesting at Thornton Gap, Huck and I hiked out. He was ready to go and feeling off. You could see it on his face, too much time with people wears him out and he was at his limit. As we walked past smog covered views, I had no ambitions of hiking through the day. The heat, my full stomach all called for a nap not along hike. My mind became lost on where will I go after this. Emotions swirling in my head I pushed the thoughts out of my mind. There is one thing I have learned how to do since my divorce; to let go. Everything had been taken from me, my house, job, car, pride, everything. I was left living our of a bag on a couch for almost a year. I had no control over most of the situations that befallen me the next year. The only way to survive was to let go of the feelings of hurt, to let go of control, to go with the flow.
Long before I joined the military I was easy going and carefree, in coming home I wasn’t. It took a long time for me to come home mentally and I thought how this was the final piece for me to heal. If I could go with the flow again, I would be who I was before I left. That’s the hardest part though, letting go and allowing God, the trail, or whatever you call it take the wheel. I was a passenger right now and I would float from now on. I would resist the urge to control situations around me. Like a kayak on the river I could choose which way to go, but I couldn’t get out of the water, there was no point in paddling back upstream that wa the past and the was so much to look forward to down the river.
I thought again of where I would go after this trip, this time I didn’t worry or stress. I wondered what sort of adventures were in store for me, what sort of beautiful people I’d meet along the way. It’s easier to hike with certain people, Huck was one of those,he never talked and hiked just far enough ahead you felt alone. He was lost in his own world as I was lost in mine while we hiked uphill to the last wayside. My only thought now on icecream and shade. To my surprise, when I walked up I saw a friendly face. Deja Vu I yelled and plopped down on him, all sweaty and wet, hugging him. Catching up I got Gatorade and ice ream from inside and returned outside.
Talking with the other hikers I was met again by Girlscout, all tired and sweaty. We were about to leave and she told us she’d see us again as we hiked off. Making our way to an expansive view I recieved some trail magic in the form of beer and water. With just a few more miles to go, we set out to Jenkins overlook for dinner and rest. Setting up our camp off the road Huck and I made dinner and talked before putting his audio book on. We went to bed around sunset ND were awoken few hours later. At 1130 to be exact a flashlight flashed in my tent from the distance.
I knew who it was immediatly, it was the Rangers and they wanted something. Slowly placing my hands outside my tent I crawled out. Giving him no reason to get frosty or surly is at with my hands in view as I talked with him. It starts don’t polite at first between the two of us as he asked for license and registration . He started to tear into me for having a hammock across the unused trail. You see here is the problem, I own a tent and it wasn’t my hammock, it was Huckleberry’s, and he was probably still asleep. So why would getting on my case resolve the hammock situation. Reassuring himself the officer then asked me if I had my permit. Producing it I showed him it was properly affixed to my bag. Then in the most condescending tone he asked me to read it out loud to him like I was five years old. Reading the permit two other officers kept an eye on us as Huck joined me on the ground.
Because we were cooperative we were issued warnings regarding where we had camped. The officers told us we could go farther back down the tail and tent there, it was flat they said. I spent the next 30 minuets looking for a place to setup. Huck pissed off packed up zs I searched for what was never there. We had only one choice now to hike a other 5 friggin miles out of the park in the dark to the next shelter; making it 30 miles for the day. I ranted and raved as I hiked the next five miles under my headlamp. What an ass hat of a ranger, he had nothing better to do than to give us a hard time in the middle of the night then worry about other hikers who were drinking and making a scene. Reaching the next shelter at two am I went to bed. Not before it dumped on us at 4 so loud none of could sleep.