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June 24-25 2023, Ten Mile Shelter to Benedict Pond:
We left early in the morning, it was muggy outside. We wore our rain gear as it lightly sprinkled on us throughout the day. The newts and slugs seemed to come out a lot more when it was moist and wet, so we watched them move along the bark and dirt.
We spent a little time in the lovely town of Salisbury. We ate some berry filled croissants and fudge brownie ice cream, then spent some time with the other thru-hikers.
I had overheard someone talking behind my back without them knowing I was listening. It was a gift for me because I saw how offended I got, for one. And for two, it made me think about how many times I had done that, myself. I recalled times when I had talked about people as if they weren’t there or whispered as if it was something I wouldn’t want the so called person to hear. I would forget to ask myself, Is this something I would say to the person’s face? It helped me see how much I didn’t want to play that kind of game anymore and that it was petering out of my experience.
The following morning, Voodoo grew extremely upset over losing a sock. He began yelling and went off about how someone must have stolen it and that they were going to have to pay because they were really expensive socks.
“How is yelling and being angry going to change the situation?” I asked.
I had to step away from him as he blew off some steam. It seemed we handled those types of situations differently. I felt if I were in the same shoes, I would have just brushed it off and told myself, “If it shows up, great. If it doesn’t, great.” Worrying about it wouldn’t solve anything.
I looked around for the sock for a couple of minutes, found it and handed it to him without saying a word. He apologized for the screaming and said he would learn how to control his anger because he didn’t like getting that way.
Today was one of those days where I didn’t want to do strenuous climbing due to being on one of the heaviest days of my moon, so I looked at the map and asked Voodoo, “Do you want to road walk?”
He smiled and said yes. It felt so liberating to just hike the way I felt like hiking each day, moving by guided inspiration. I felt blessed to have met someone who enjoyed it just as much as me and who didn’t make me feel shitty for the way I rolled.
At one point, we got a ride past the MA border by a man who shared that he was in the 1984 rowing Olympics. He also told us that Meryl Streep lived in Salisbury by a pond. I couldn’t believe it. He said she came in the local grocery store all of the time! She happened to be my favorite actress. She always appeared to be such a humble woman to me. Her energy felt soft and just, normal, not part of all that crazy weird Hollywood shit.
When we got dropped off, we linked back up on trail. A few miles in, I had a mental breakdown due to my moon cycle. I felt extremely emotional and in a lot of intense physical pain. I felt suffocated by the heat, humidity and lack of breeze on the trail. I just felt awful, breaking out in heat flashes and going a mile an hour. I felt as if I was about to vomit numerous times. I ended up taking my pack off numerous times just to sit down and bawl my eyes out.
I felt so angry at Voodoo for not understanding what I was feeling. It was another pattern I had faced: the subconscious hatred for men. I felt pressured to walk as fast as him, all the while feeling as though I was going to faint. But, after I cried it out, I realized I was the only one putting pressure on myself.
We ended up camping at Benedict Pond which was a blue blaze trail off the AT. It was about to get dark by the time we had arrived there so we just set up at the first picnic area that we saw and called it a night.