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I had hiked around 35 miles and all I could think about was eating dinner and going to bed. I set up my tent in a very exposed area and the Wyoming wind was so fierce that the metal poles on my tent snapped in half, followed by my rain fly getting shredded. I saw how much I grew within that experience because first time thru-hiker me would’ve sat on my tush and cried while I hoped that the problem would somehow solve itself. But this time, without hesitation, I re-packed all of my items despite how tired I was. I knew a thunderstorm was on the horizon and I wasn’t interested in getting the experience of hypothermia.
In hindsight, it was another moment when I realized how much my angels protected me, for when I was in the middle of setting up my tent, an older gentlemen drove by on the exact dirt road I happened to be on. There were a plethora of roads and I hadn’t seen people for several days, yet he stopped to chat and told me he was picking up his friend who was section hiking the CDT. He mentioned he would be driving back my way towards town.
In the meantime, I backtracked and walked onto a bigger dirt road in which I expected to see traffic but didn’t. After another 10 miles, I watched the clouds grow black over my head and I felt myself begin to tear up. The thoughts of victimization quickly dissipated when I remembered it wasn’t the end of the world and that I always had a choice to view it differently.
Shortly after, the same man came driving down the road and picked me up. His friend in the passenger seat greeted me and I expressed my gratitude and relief for their help. We drove for about an hour and they told me how they both met at their local church and have been close friends for about 20 years now!
They dropped me off in Rawlins and I got a cozy room for the night. I ordered myself a pizza and called my friend Goose who provided me comfort by telling me about a book titled Short Stories from Long Trails by Justin Lichter. It was about a guy whose trail name was Trauma due to all of the traumatic experiences he went through on trail and how he survived with a simple change of perspective. I haven’t read it yet, although it helped me relax my judgements and upsets about trivial things. There were people who have been through much more extreme scenarios and have survived with laughter and a sense of excitement/adventure. Harsh moments on trail are nothing but a test to build mental strength and remind me that behind the clouds lies a shining light. It is all energy and it is all passing. 🌦🌤☀️🌞