Pushing out earlier than the others Zen and I headed for the trail. I hated having such a short day before, if we hadn’t of been so tired we would have pushed close to Duncannon rather than potentially ending there. One of the best things about hiking with Zen as been the philosophical conversations that we dive deep into. Our conversation for the morning would be the ever elusive epiphany of the trail. When would it happen? Did it happen? How it would come to us if it did? That pinnacle moment of the entire trail, that one instance in time where our thoughts would align with the universe and true pure thought would enter our minds.
The epiphany is why he was out here, it was why I was out here. That moment of clarity that would set my life in a direction that I would run with till the end of time. As we discussed this idea we came to the same conclusion; if you and one it would come after the trail. It would be on some random Tuesday when you were home and your mind would have that moment at a random time. It would not come during the trail, if it had you’d just leave the trail anyway. We had to suffer, to persevere, push our minds and bodies to the edge and over, succeeding where so many have failed and quit. That one clear thought would come after it was all said and done.
The conversation drifting to our finish, he, Zen was still unsure of how he was going to finish, he knew one thing, he wanted his close friends there. I knew how I wanted to finish this venture. I had seen a very emotional candid photo, what seems like ages ago, of a person so exhausted, overwhelmed that they had collapsed on the sign. I wanted that, no victory pose, no redundant nude or celebratory pose behind the sign. That raw untouched emotion, the culmination of my entire venture in one look. The victory shots would come after, but for me I wanted that unique expression.
Our conversations grew so involved we took little notice of the dead car on its roof as we climbed the mountain to Darlington Shelter. Catching Crawford and Tank the six of us headed down the mountain side to Hawk Rock. We caught up and laughed our way down, not really talking but chatting. By now I haven’t taken much notice of the green tunnel, it all looks the same to me now. The trees and shrubs start to blend into a sea of greens and browns. Your thoughts taking more precedence over the forrest. One thing that continues to shock me out of the fog is the ever splendid views from the overlooks and this was a good one, looking at Duncannon you could feel how far you’d come and that in minutes you’d be miles away from here, sitting somewhere in town. It went just like that, we were all at the Doyle playing pool and having a few beers before looking for a place to nest up.
Leaving the Doyle I came across a tiny sign, that feeling went off again. For me I have this intuition of something better somewhere and this sign was it. Checking out the sign I found that we could camp in the back yard. Before I knew it we were meeting two section hikers, sisters, and the home owners. Our tents were quite key set up and we sat around the fire talking. The homeowner, a big fan of scotch, had us doing tastings all night. Going to bed I slept so well on that cool soft grass, not for long though. Around one am, Crawford wanted to crawl in my tent with me, he had had a good night and would be hard to wake in the morning.