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June 29 2023, Dalton, MA to Wilbur Clearing Shelter:
We got a ride back to the trail and hiked up a strenuous side trail that led back to the AT. Our plan was to hike south so we could check out Mt Greylock, then hike north to Wilbur Clearing Shelter.
I ended up taking a wrong turn somewhere along the side trail. Figured no big deal, I would just stop where I was and wait for Voodoo. While I was hanging out, I saw Scoops coming down the trail, so she stopped to chat with me for a bit.
A few minutes into the conversation, Voodoo called me and I answered the phone to him screaming, “Where the FUCK are you?!”
It was the first time I ever heard him raise his voice at me like that. I felt caught off guard. He was livid, saying how he was yelling my name for twenty minutes, looking for me and thinking that I got lost.
“Well, I didn’t. I’m back on the AT,” I said, “I must’ve taken a wrong turn. I’ll—“
“Where?!” he interrupted.
I began laughing because I thought the misperception was funny, but he didn’t find me laughing funny at all. It just triggered him more.
“What the fuck is so funny about this?!” he continued.
“I don’t know, I just think it’s funny. It wasn’t intentional,” I said.
Scoops immediately overheard him yelling even more, seemingly unable to relax. Lightening the situation didn’t seem to help. I felt embarrassed. My voice grew shaky as I told him I couldn’t speak to him when he used that tone on me. I hung up on him and he called me back numerous times to tell me I was not allowed to hang up on him as he was trying to talk to me and figure out where I was.
“Yelling is not the same as talking,” I said.
I felt really disassociated, as if I couldn’t even focus on talking and being present with Scoops anymore. We parted ways and another hiker came down, so we chatted for a bit, too. I mt felt good to talk to other people, again. I loved talking to hikers… alone. I loved meeting people and talking about trail and whatever else came to mind. I felt happy in that moment. I felt momentarily free.
Eventually, Voodoo came storming up the path and I felt my body go tense upon seeing him. As I tried keeping a conversation with the guy I was talking to, I noticed some shakiness arise within me. I felt as if I shouldn’t have been talking to him, like I was in the wrong all of a sudden.
I said goodbye to the guy, then told Voodoo how embarrassed I felt by his apparent actions. “I don’t hang around dudes who yell at me. I’m not into that,” I said.
I was extremely tone sensitive and just a slight raising of the voice was enough for me to call it quits.
“Then fucking go!” he yelled, “I’m just a yeller! There, you saw me for who I really am! Now fucking go!”
I felt I was in a shock state. I couldn’t understand why he was overreacting so strongly. He began to take large sticks and slam them into the dirt, breaking them to pieces.
Then, he ripped heavy rocks from out of the ground, threw them as he screamed, “AHHHH!”
I just kept walking, but then it felt like he was getting in front of me trying to rile me up so I would react with him.
“Listen, I can’t do this. I can’t talk to you when you’re like this,” I felt depleted and said, “I don’t even want to hike up this mountain anymore.”
A NOBO hiker was walking towards us and Voodoo said, “Why don’t we let this guy have an input on the situation?!”
I felt so embarrassed, disrespected and out of bounds. I never felt comfortable having disagreements in public and causing a scene that didn’t need to be a scene in the first place. Those conversations felt personal to me and I desired to work through them in a very intimate, soft way.
He apologized after taking some deep breaths and continued to climb the mountain with me, then said, “I’m sorry. I just have really strong feelings for you that sometimes I forget you’re your own person.”
We took a break in a stone building near the summit and ate our leftover pizza. I still couldn’t shake off the feeling.
I kept thinking to myself, What the fuck just happened?
We continued to the tower and walked up the spiral staircase. Then, we walked to the grassy hill that overlooked the city. There, we ran into Bob and she was baffled when she saw us.
“How did you get here so fast?” she asked.
“Oh, we’ve been fucking around a lot,” I said, “we hitch some, walk some.”
We told her we hitched near Kent, Connecticut, to which she appeared annoyed with our inability to stay on the red line.
“You guys didn’t hike that section!” she said.
“We never said we did,” Voodoo replied.
“Well, are you going to go back and hike it?” she asked.
“Fuck if I know,” I laughed.
I knew I could always come back and finish that segment later if I ever so desired. I didn’t pressure myself with the way I preferred to move on a day to day basis. It was always feeling based guidance by what felt lightest for me in that moment.
Voodoo and I walked down to the shelter and there were a lot of people there. Voodoo put ointment on my skin for poison ivy because we both broke out again, this time worse than before. Initially, I would’ve camped in the shelter, but I just didn’t want to be around people at all. I felt I was feeling too much energetically.
I told him I was going to go write somewhere quiet. He seemed to be entertaining everyone there anyways, so figured that was more his vibe at the moment. But, shortly after, he came to be with me.
I laid down on the wooden platform. I had planned on writing, but lately I had been feeling a lack of inspiration. It didn’t feel like it was there and seemed to require a lot of effort. I felt tired. My mind and heart felt heavy. I fell asleep as Voodoo was setting up the tent.
He woke me up and whispered, “Hey, baby. Why don’t you go sleep in the tent?”
Sluggishly, I got up and went to the tent. He had his mat rolled up inside and I barely had any energy to unroll it. I didn’t want to, but I felt he would be upset if I didn’t.
When he came in, he said, “Good, you unrolled it. I wanted to see if you would actually do it. I would’ve been upset if you didn’t. It would’ve made me think you didn’t love me.”
When did I become like this? I asked myself.
I wasn’t the type of chick to do things I didn’t want to do, even if someone around me became apparently upset with me. That was the ego’s game. I wasn’t the type to pressure myself with my apparent actions or the words I apparently spoke. I wanted to give myself the freedom to act the way that felt good to me in the moment.