June 30th, 2021
Mile Marker: 1048.9
Miles Hiked Today: 25.5
Last night was truly the best night of sleep I have had in a while. A full night sleeping without waking up once. We were camped next to a nice trickling stream and the pitter patter of rain on my tent soothed me into a nice rest.
We set out for the day planning to tackle anywhere from 22 to 25 miles.
It was a gorgeous morning, hardly any mosquitos, a cool breeze, and incredible wild flowers spread out before us. Planner and I cruised along easily and spent the morning chit chatting about our possible Fourth of July plans.
I had some rolling thoughts from a conversation I had had with Journey earlier so I asked Planner if she ever wondered what her purpose was in life, if she ever questioned it. She told me that sometimes she does, but she always likes to remind herself that she is exactly where she is supposed to be.
I agreed. I think what I am doing right now, is what I should be doing. I also occasionally have this inner feeling that I am supposed to be doing something more since leaving Ethiopia. Specifically, leaving Sara; the Deaf girl I helped teach sign language. I can’t help but feel like I am supposed to do something with the deaf children in Ethiopia.
Today, I almost lost my cookies thinking about this, but didn’t feel like crying. I now lay in my tent thinking and writing back on the day and I can’t help but have tears stream down my face.
All I had wanted was for Sara to have the chance to go to school. A chance to learn. A chance to feel loved.
But then I left. Covid happened. Plans got cancelled and she never was able to go.
And over a year later. I still cannot let this go.
In a way I feel like I failed her. That I let her down. I have no idea where she is now. I have tried multiple people to help me get in touch with her mom but no one has it. Quite simply, I feel helpless in being able to help her.
I’m writing this because my love for Sara, for this precious little girl, will never, ever go away and I am just trying to process it.
I guess, I don’t always know what my purpose is. But right now I am living this current version of myself. This thru hiker version of myself where my job is to wander, think, and head north. I’m figuring out what is important to me and where I want to put my energy and focus.
What I have realized is that through all the things I have done in life, I continuously circle back to one common denominator.
The Deaf community and sign language.
More so, today, the pain of Sara made the urge to do something in Ethiopia all the stronger.
I have no idea how to start. I have no idea who to contact. I have minimal ideas of what the Deaf community needs there. But, this is something that I have to at least pursue.
Because if I don’t try, I will be left wondering, what if.
I think our purpose changes courses over time as we figure out more about ourselves. As we grown into different versions of ourselves, as we go into new experiences and ages.
I came to this trail so much different than I was coming to the AT. In a way, I felt more lost coming to the PCT because I came home from peace corps to covid and anxiety and I couldn’t really figure out what version of myself I was. I knew I wasn’t the old American, pre Ethiopia version of myself but also the Ethiopian version of myself was over. What was I left with. Who was I? How could I figure it out?
This trail is teaching me to look inward again, in a different way. I spend a lot of time thinking and less time talking. I’m much quieter on this trail than I was on the AT. I mull over internal battles and listen more to people and their stories.
I’m a different version.
I have a different purpose.
And that’s okay.
To put the cherry on top of an incredibly mindful day, around 1:30 pm we ran into trail magic! Can you believe it! It was by far, one of the best trail Magic’s in all the trail Magic’s we have had.
It was run by 2 guys where this is their eleventh year doing trail magic. Let me tell you, they had it down. A hot meal which included eggs, bread, hash brown, and chili. They also had cereal, milk, chocolate milk, soda, candy and best but not least, made from scratch brownies!!!!!!!!
I literally felt like I was in heaven. Hiker Heaven.
The whole crew enjoyed the good food and gave our many, many thanks to the two then headed out in a single file line for 8 more miles to camp.
There was a thunderstorm happening behind us, creeping in on us, but we kept hiking with hopes to make it to camp before the rain started.
We had gotten so lucky today. We made it to camp, set up our tents, ate dinner, and then rain started. Boo yah!
I was so excited to have my tent already set up. Once inside the storm came through and unleashed an ugly round of hail, rain, and lightening for about 45 minutes and then passed on through.
Conrad, Bottleneck, and Tide are still behind us, but it’s still been enjoyable with the rest of the people around. We are in high spirits that we will all be reunited in a few days to celebrate the 4th!
I know I may seem sappy above, but it really was a great day. Tears are worth it, growth is worth it, and we are worth it.
Iz and Oz
2 Replies to “Day 51: Purpose.”
Gallaudet and NTID both have international student programs. GU a is the International Special
Student program. I don’t know if they can help with Sara, but might have some resources.
NTID has an International Outreach Program that works with Ethiopia among other countries. The director I think k is Thomasine Sarchet. mailto:email@example.com
Also, Gerry Buckley is President of NTID and my old boss from
JCCC. He’s a great guy, has strong ties to Olathe (his wife is from
Olathe) and probably knows your parents:). It might be worth reaching out to him and seeing what he thinks. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for sharing your journey! Much love to you and your tramily. Happy 4th!