July 1st, 2021
Mile Marker: 1081.9
Miles Hiked Today: 25
Today we woke up and sung Happy Birthday to Lightning, who turned 22 today! It was a fantastic sunrise with orange and pinks and a bright sun coming up behind the mountains. Thankfully it hardly rained during the night and most of our tents were nice and dry.
Planner and I set out and I knew almost instantly that my semi cry from the night before while writing my blog post was bubbling up into something bigger.
Tears kept welling in my eyes as we hiked and I thought about Sara and who I was trying to be, what I wanted to be.
It felt like mental clutter. Thoughts just pouring in from every direction. Stacking on top of each other. It felt noisy and sad.
We came around this grand bend with a view of the mountains below and I peeled off onto the outstretched rock, told Planner the trail needed me to ugly cry, and for her to continue on.
I then threw my bag down, sat down, and bawled my eyes out. The ugly kind where your back shakes and snot starts to come out of your nose.
I cried about many things. Trying to figure out me, but mostly, I cried because of Sara and my Ethiopian family. I vividly recounted the day I left my village and my heart physically hurt. “Oh fuck.” I called out into the abyss between sobs.
I keep telling myself I should be over it all. But I don’t work that way. It takes me an incredibly long time to get over anything I have done. I, in no way want to romanticize the time I spent in Ethiopia. It was incredibly hard, some days I thought about quitting and going home early. But it opened my eyes to a whole other world, a whole other way of living. It was a life lived and in a way, I lost my family.
I sat for no idea how long, letting my cries come in waves. Letting my thoughts cycle through until I felt some what better.
It’s interesting how we are weighed down by our thoughts. How we can tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough or we aren’t doing enough and we believe it.
As I started walking on, I kept telling myself to just be.
There was no old me, there was no Ethiopian me, I just needed to be, because we are ever flowing like a river and I needed to stop fighting the current like I was.
I listened to the trees, I smiled and chatted with the day hikers, I kept looking around at the scenery. I continuously reminded myself to be present as I hiked alone.
It was soothing.
The trail has a way of making you realize what is weighing you down and it makes you clear the clutter.
I hate it, but I am thankful for it. I am so thankful to have this time.
Around 10:30 I had run across a piece of paper taped to a wooden post that said “Trail Magic 300 feet” with an arrow pointing down a trail. I set off and couldn’t believe I was hitting my second trail magic in a row! It was this gentleman’s first time doing it but he had the whole spread, he knew what we liked. I indulged in some Gatorade and snickers and was so thankful for it.
I had a hiker who claimed she loved my googlie eyes and one of her friends asked me if I used it to scare off cougars or if it was just for funzies.
“Oh, funzies for sure” I responded.
I set off again down the trail solo listening to soft songs and embracing the trail.
It was unbelievable. I felt like I was walking through a scene on the Wizard Of Oz. I couldn’t keep my head from looking back and forth.
Around 1 pm the whole crew was sitting eating lunch and we talked about a lake in 3 miles.
I couldn’t wait, it was hot and I wanted to wash everything off. The tears, sweat, and dirt.
Some decided to head on once we reached the lake for a possible trail magic and Journey, Planner, and I all hopped in. It was cold, but warm enough to swim for a bit.
Getting into a lake after hard work, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.
We hiked on after a while and met up with the rest of the crew. We had 5 more miles to our campground by yet another lake.
We did what we have been doing for the past few days and that is hiking in a line all together. We look like we were set out on a mission. I enjoyed it though. After spending majority of the day alone, it was nice to be around tramily.
We saw storm clouds again to our east but seemed to have hiked out of it and away. We were so thankful for this.
We arrived to camp early again and I almost immediately after setting up my tent went down to the lake and swam again.
My inner fish self is coming out. I absolutely love the water and being able to swim in it.
We sat around and ate dinner. Goldilocks made some brownie batter with a Milky Way to share as a treat for lightning’s birthday. It was soupy but rich and tasty. Plus, you could put almost anything in front of us and we would devour it.
It was a long day but a meaningful one. Im sure I have many more cries to occur and thoughts and feelings to process and come to peace with, but I am ready. I feel more and more open each time.
Iz and Oz