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August 20, 2023:
And so it was time to hitchhike back to Chi-town. I felt as if I did everything I felt inspired to do this summer—hitch to all of the Trail Days and hitch back home to surprise my family. I had never done it before, so figured it would be a fun little quest.
I walked out of Thunder Island while it was still dark outside and greeted all of the officers that were keeping guard overnight. I walked about a mile to the on-ramp and got picked up by a fellow hiker named Shanksmare. He was on his way to have breakfast with a bunch of other thru-hikers who were former and also current YouTubers. He invited me to join them at Hood River so I said fuck yes!
We arrived there and we all had so much fun! I met one of my readers who went by the name Marmalade. Then, we got a big table and the other hikers joined: Young Heart, Mountain Goat, No Filter and Rumbles. One of the guys got us all some fresh cinnamon rolls and we all bonded over hiker talk and I just felt so at home. The hikers asked about my blog and I blushed as I looked at Marmalde because he knew exactly what I wrote about. I ended up giving them a PG-13 summary.
I loved seeing everyone’s faces and hiker trash appearance. Most of all, I loved having arrived there on my own, meaning being on the road in solitude again. I loved that I was walking with the sound of my own footsteps and meeting people at my own rhythm. I wondered to myself if I would (truthfully) ever be able to let a man in my life again. Just the thought of the idea right at that moment seemed to bring about some very intense anxiety. I told myself I didn’t have to worry about that right now, then let the thought go and gave thanks for being surrounded with my hiker community. I gave thanks for the medicine of laughter and the way sharing stories of our passion for the mountains made our hearts lift.
Shanksmare bought my meal, then afterwards him and I walked to a local coffee shop that he was fond of. There, he bought me some apple croissants. Then, he brought me to the on-ramp and a pickup truck with a camper pulled over shortly after.
They were two friends who used to date, Richard and Karoline and were going all the way to Boise, Idaho which was my goal for the night! They were both very sweet and mature and apologized for the fact that they would be listening to a podcast the whole way to Idaho. It was a free ride so I could care less about what they chose to do.
I fell asleep in the back of their car. After some time, they stopped at a local health food store and I walked around inside and just felt into the energy of the area. It reminded me of Hawaii, along with being at the store with my mom which was how we normally spent quality time together. They kept making sure I was well-taken care of, such as constantly asking if I needed food, feminine products, etc. I said I was good every time and thanked them for constantly checking in on me. I felt so loved.
Richard had an extra guest bedroom and ended up inviting me to stay in his home so I wouldn’t have to camp outside overnight. I told him I would love to, but that I would probably keep hitchhiking until 5pm since that was my cut off time. They informed me there was a time change and that we would be arriving into Boise just before 5pm. So, the guidance had me take them up on the offer!
When we got to his place, he showed me my room, then let me do laundry and take a shower. He was also a professional macramé artist and had intricate plant holders scattered on the ceiling all throughout his house. He even was a wood worker and a painter! Jack of all trades.
At the end of the night, he picked some vegetables out of his garden and made a big vegan dinner for him and his mom who lived next door. He invited me over and when I came in I felt a vibe that his mom was suspicious of me, especially because I was a stranger that her son had picked up on the side of the road. For a moment I had a feeling sense that I needed to prove myself to be a ‘good person,’ but I quickly dropped that thought when I remembered there was no one ‘out there’ I had to please.
They started offering me food which was all vegetable related items.
I noticed I started to feel self-conscious when they asked what I enjoyed eating and I said, “LOTS of meat.”
Richard was vegan for a couple of decades, so he didn’t really make any comment. I remembered when I was going through my raw/vegan phase for some years and I held very intense judgements about those around me who ate meat. I recalled how concrete my beliefs were back then and anyone who pushed on them triggered me to react extremely defensively. So, I ended up getting really in my head and feeling awkward. I thanked them for letting me spend the night in their beautiful home and just went to bed.