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May 6 2023, Harvey’s Knob Overlook to Harrison Ground Spring:
Today, I felt focused on spiderwebs, finding their intricacy and subtlety very impressive. Every twenty minutes I stopped to look at something that caught my eye, reminiscent of being on mushrooms and wanting to appreciate every detail that nature provided.
When I made it down to Jennings Creek, I met a woman who was a shuttle driver for hikers. I mentioned that I had to hitch back for my root canal appointment. She offered to pick me up at 11am tomorrow at one of the dirt road crossings and drive me to Daleville and from there, her son could take me to Pearisburg—all free of charge. I took down her information and tuned into the guidance when I started walking. It didn’t sit right; I felt more called to keep hiking and just hitch from US 501—figured it would be an easy spot to get a ride back to next week and hike north. I thanked her for the offer, but continued on.
After the steep climb, a guy named Grizz came down from the south side and trail magic’d a few other hikers and I some root beer floats and clementines at the Bryant Ridge Shelter! He had hiked the AT in 2020 and was trying to surprise his friend on the trail before he went back to work.
Today was one of those days where I felt immensely triggered climbing up steep hills in the heat of the day, to lo and behold, receive no view. Guess it could’ve always been worse—it could’ve been hailing or I could’ve had frostbite. I could’ve been grateful for simply having legs to walk. But for now, I didn’t feel open to being drenched in sweat and smelling like a wet dog.
It also looked like I wasn’t in tune with reading my moon cycle lately. It arrived early and I didn’t experience any signs that it was on the horizon. I didn’t have any pads, so I did what I heard hippies did: put a sock in my underwear. I had now reached the next level of hiker trash.
I felt a sort of sadness today. It felt really wholesome to be alone and barely hear myself speak—other than to passerby’s. Yet, a kind of melancholy was there… an air of emptiness. Was this the Virginia blues they spoke of?
At the end of the day, I chatted with a guy named Keene for a while. Everyone assumed he was Quadzilla, probably because he was Asian. I really enjoyed being in his presence. He had a very energetic persona and seemed very attentive during our conversation. He dreamt of being a real thru-hiker, but didn’t give himself the freedom to drop everything and just do it. He said he couldn’t because he worked a corporate job, yet he would come out and hike 25+ mile sections a day and dress like a thru-hiker. Sometimes, I wished people could just snap out of it and recognize their life was meant for having fun and following where the inspiration guided them. On your death bed, it wasn’t going to matter if you worked a corporate job or what kind of car you drove. What was going to matter was the experiences you had and the love you shared along the way.
Before I went to bed, I looked at a picture of Voodoo and thought to myself, I can’t believe I get to have him—correction, experience him. How blessed was I? I felt grateful that he still wanted to stay connected with me and that our hearts appeared more at ease with each other.