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Made it to Yellowstone and hitched a ride from there towards Pinedale. A man named Julio from Ecuador picked me up.
Later, I got picked up by a married couple who let me crash in their car as they did a road trip around the Tetons. God bless people who let me sleep in their car. They gave me $20 for food and dropped me off in Jackson. They hugged me goodbye and let me know if I didn’t make it out of town I could crash with them in their hotel.
As I started walking down the sidewalk, a guy in front of me sneezed so I said, “Bless you!” When he turned around to thank me, he was taken aback from my big pack and trekking poles. He joined me in walking and said he wanted to know my story. I told him I was hitching to Pinedale, so he offered to give me a ride out of town. We sat in his Tesla and he expressed how it was a breath of fresh air to run into me. He said if I didn’t get a ride out of town that he would take me out for dinner. I thanked him for the kind offer.
Almost immediately, I got picked up by a local 18 year old guy named Carl. He was insanely mature for his age, as though he had the mind of a 35 year old. Intelligent, handsome, kind and well-mannered. He dropped me off directly at the Jackalope Motor Lodge.
As soon as I saw the owner, I became ecstatic! We traded stickers and an older gentleman walked in during that time. He observed our exchange of conversation as he made himself a cup of coffee. Within 30 seconds of listening, he interrupted to let me know he loved my energy and wanted to invite me out for dinner with him and his brother. I said yes! I dropped my things off and casually walked into their room to greet them with hugs. Their names were Jeff and Jerry—both motorcyclists—fresh off the road.
As we were walking into town, I noticed him and his brother were polar opposites—Jerry extroverted, Jeff introverted. Jerry enjoyed to party and bask in trouble, while Jeff preferred to camp in quiet locations and stay to himself.
We stopped at Los Cabos for some Mexican food. It was completely packed with people, but we got a seat almost immediately. We watched in fascination as the workers moved around swiftly and fast—in a flow state—like a well-oiled machine. Five minutes before closing, the owners flickered the lights, signaling for everyone to get the fuck out.
As we were walking back, Jerry was tipsy off a few margaritas and expressed how I was glowing when he came into the room… that the energy was building and he just wanted to bottle it up. He hoped I would never lose sight of that light.
They asked to take a picture with me before we went to bed. Afterwards, we exchanged “I love you’s” and heartfelt hugs. As though coming together to bring some light into each other’s lives only for a moment, we parted ways not having any idea if or when the Universe would bring us to cross paths again. Only time would tell.
When I made it home, I saw my friend Snake! Last time I saw him was in Idaho, near Island Park as he was headed SOBO. After we got settled into our bunks, we opened up our curtains and talked about this dream of an apparent life we were living. I felt like a little kid having a sleepover—exchanging conversation in the dark—with nothing but our bunk bed lights forming soft silhouettes of our figures.
He told me how drastically his thru-hike had changed ever since he deleted his social media accounts. He said he felt more humbled, as though the thoughts of who he once was were beginning to fade… things that once used to bother him were beginning to fade as well. Shedding layers of himself and his apparent past, hence how he received the name Snake.